The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
CONSTITUTIONAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise the House that the government of this province will introduce in the near future a resolution to authorize, from Ontario's standpoint, an amendment of the Canadian Constitution regarding property rights.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am always prepared to share, as long as members opposite, who always love to share a credit, will also share in the responsibility.
Mr. Bradley: You are the last one to lecture on that -- you and the feds.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, the feds are your party. Do not try to dissociate yourself from your federal brethren. Do not try to do it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. Speaker: Now are we quite finished? Statements by the ministry.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to ask you, Mr. Speaker, in terms of credit, who will be there when the courthouse is open, who was there at the sod turning?
Mr. Bradley: The member for St. Catharines.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, come on, who are you kidding?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member is a Tory when I am in his riding.
Mr. Bradley: That is the worst insult I have ever had.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry. The Premier.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I was interrupted, Mr. Speaker. I apologize.
The resolution will propose an amendment to section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so as to include a right to enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Last month the first ministers met with native leaders in Ottawa to discuss aboriginal rights. Ministers and officials had earlier reviewed the resolution on entrenched property rights which passed unanimously in the British Columbia Legislature, and it was planned that the first ministers would consider the issue during their informal sessions in March.
Although agreement was not reached at that time, Ontario believes that the opportunity offered by the BC resolution should not be allowed to slip by. If within two and a half years Parliament and seven provincial legislatures with at least 50 per cent of the population pass similar resolutions, we will have entrenched property rights.
Interest in entrenched property rights is not new to either Canada or to this province. The protection of property rights has always been a feature of Canadian common law. In 1960 this tradition was expressed in statutory law. The Canadian Bill of Rights includes, as a human right and fundamental freedom, the words "enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law."
The Canadian Bill of Rights was introduced and led through the House of Commons by that great Canadian, John George Diefenbaker. I expect the benches opposite to applaud.
Mr. Kerrio: He flew it with the Arrow.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, the Arrow did fly. It did not fly long enough for my purposes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I had to fight an election on the Avro Arrow. I thought it was grossly unfair.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think we should recall the history. With all due respect to the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp), I want to remind members of a little of the history.
In the draft Charter of Rights and Freedoms of July 1980, section 7 included a reference to property rights. By August 1980 the federal government had removed the enjoyment of property from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in response to concern from some of the sister provinces, primarily Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island, which felt that such provisions could adversely affect their existing legislation respecting land ownership.
On January 23, 1981, during the deliberations of the joint Senate-House of Commons committee on the Constitution, Perrin Beatty of the Progressive Conservative Party moved an amendment to section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to add "enjoyment of property." He was assured of government support for the amendment by the acting Minister of Justice at that time, Mr. Kaplan.
On January 26, 1981, the then Minister of Justice, Mr. Chrétien, appeared before the committee and withdrew the government support of the amendment, citing the opposition of many provinces. He also stated that Mr. Kaplan's consent was the result of a misunderstanding. I am not quarrelling with that. I think that is factually correct.
On January 27, 1981 the Progressive Conservative amendment in favour of property rights was voted down by the committee by a vote of 15 to eight. It is generally understood that this vote reflected the desire of the federal government to set this issue aside in the pursuit of a broader consensus among provinces and in Parliament. However, members will note that the Prime Minister has very recently reiterated his earlier willingness to see such a provision entrenched.
The reservations of some provinces have centred on the perceived limitation that such an entrenched guarantee would place on provincial responsibilities such as agricultural lands policy and expropriations. These are but two examples. It is our belief there will still be room for such important legislation. I do not think anyone wishes to intervene, say, in Prince Edward Island, in terms of how it perceives its land policies. It is a relatively small amount of real estate, and we are sympathetic to the concerns of that government that the land does not disappear into ownership in other places. As a result, my government will want to hear and discuss various positions on the implications that our resolution might have.
Members here will know -- I know the member for Waterloo North in particular knows this -- that this province has supported the inclusion of property rights in our Constitution since 1980. It was part of our position. The member reviewed it carefully, so I know he is aware that was the position of the government. Because this principle is one of our fundamental freedoms, such as liberty or the security of the person, it is our intent, as I previously noted, to proceed with a resolution to have property rights included in section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The charter aptly entrenches so much of what, by tradition, it has meant to be Canadian. Accordingly, it is very appropriate that the first two amendments, if this does carry in our sister provinces, to our new Constitution considered by this Legislature should be the recognition of the collective rights of aboriginal peoples and the individual right to enjoyment of property.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the House that I will present my budget on May 10 in the afternoon.
ONTARIO COMMISSION ON TRUCK SAFETY
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to table this afternoon the recently completed report of the Ontario Commission on Truck Safety.
It is almost exactly 18 months to the day since I announced in this House the appointment of Dr. Robert Uffen of Queen's University to carry out this independent study of truck safety on Ontario's roads. His mandate was sufficiently broad to allow him to investigate all noneconomic matters pertaining to truck safety, including driver standards, vehicle standards and specifications, rules of the road, enforcement and sanctions, as well as public and industry perceptions and expectations.
When Dr. Uffen reported to me two weeks ago that he had completed his report, I felt it should be brought to public attention as quickly as possible. I assure members that the copies are, as they say, hot off the press. In fact, they were received from the printer just within the last hour or so.
Although I have not had an opportunity to evaluate its content in detail, I can say that my initial reaction to both his report to me and his written text is that he has made a very comprehensive, thorough and detailed investigation of his subject.
To accomplish this, he held nine public hearings, seven of them two-day sessions, in major centres across the province. Between the presentations made at these hearings and those sent directly to him, Dr. Uffen studied more than 80 briefs in addition to holding private interviews and considering the comments of interested groups from the industry and the general public.
As well, he arranged for a demonstration of the controversial overlength trucks. During the course of the demonstration he both rode in the cabs of these trucks and observed their operation on the highway and in traffic.
I point out these items only because I would like to emphasize that Dr. Uffen went to considerable lengths to accommodate the presentation of views from various levels of government, the industry and the public.
As a result of his intensive investigation, Dr. Uffen came up with a total of 61 recommendations. However, in the interest of highlighting the most important, he chose and expanded on what he considers the nine principal recommendations. A number of these pertain directly to the truck driver, his training, licensing, medical condition and driving habits. In addition, he highlights speed limits and following distances as well as a ring road for Metro Toronto, accident investigation procedures and overlength vehicles.
In outlining these nine principal recommendations, Dr. Uffen prefaced his comments with a statement which points out that most of the evidence indicates the major problem lies with human behaviour.
At this time I do not propose to elaborate any further on the report other than to say that Dr. Uffen will be meeting with the press this afternoon at 3:30 in the media studio to outline and comment on his report.
I believe that Dr. Uffen is with us today in the gallery. I thank you, Dr. Uffen, for being here with us.
In closing, I would like to say that his report adds a great deal to our knowledge and perceptions of truck safety. It also, in its thoroughness, calls for an in-depth study of the recommendations and possible implications. This will begin as soon as possible, and I propose to report back in due course when I have some concrete proposals to make in response to these recommendations. In the meantime, because this is a very important topic to a great many people, I will welcome any comments on the contents of the report from the public.
SERVICES FOR PRINT-HANDICAPPED STUDENTS
Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, further to the commitment made by my colleague the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) that services such as those provided by the audio library at Trent will continue, I am pleased to announce, on behalf of the social policy field ministers, a plan for continuing the provision of Braille and audio textbook and reference material transcription services for Ontario's print-handicapped post-secondary students.
The W. Ross Macdonald School in Brantford has been designated as the provincial co-ordinating agency for Braille and audio educational materials production and dissemination. This includes educational materials for kindergarten to grade 13 and the post-secondary services which are the subject of my comments today.
The school will work closely with post-secondary institutions and with the agencies currently involved with Braille and audio transcription. These agencies, which include the audio library service at Trent University, the national library at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, PAL Reading Services Inc. and the Braille Centre at the University of Western Ontario, have agreed to participate in such an arrangement.
The W. Ross Macdonald School will receive requests from post-secondary institutions on behalf of print-handicapped students, will search sources for previously transcribed materials and will arrange for transcription as required. Transcriptions will be done as part of an annual contract arrangement with the previously noted transcription services.
An advisory committee, with representation from the community college and university sectors, the service providers and users, will assist the W. Ross Macdonald School in considering program policy, standard formats and future directions for the service.
Community colleges and universities should continue to facilitate the provision of day-to-day educational materials for print-handicapped students in their institutions. Such materials may include class handouts, examinations and short reference articles.
For the next three to four months, until the W. Ross Macdonald School has developed fully its co-ordinating role, I have requested that all of the transcription services continue to work with students' requests as they have in the past. Funds will be provided directly to these agencies in the interim period to continue their services to post-secondary students.
I should like to draw to the attention of the members of the Legislature the enormous contribution made by hundreds of Ontario's citizens to the education of print-handicapped post-secondary students. The volunteer readers, the volunteer Braillists at the CNIB, at the audio library service and at PAL, and the volunteers at post-secondary institutions, provide an indispensable part of the continuing service for print-handicapped students.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I just thought I might draw to your attention and to the attention of members that one of our former colleagues in the House is in the gallery today. I am sure you would like to welcome to the House the former member for Victoria-Haliburton, Glen Hodgson.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I was wondering whether the government House leader was going to make a statement today to remove any confusion and to perhaps obviate any embarrassment that might have been created for the royal household as a result of that part of the speech from the throne, the last paragraph on page 23, which gave rise to press accounts. This certainly indicated in the minds of many members of this Legislature that there is some confusion. I am sure the government House leader, to say nothing of the leader of the government, would not wish to --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That is not a point of order.
Mr. Peterson: The Treasurer stated on several occasions that the participation of the doctors of the province in the restraint program was critical to the program's success. For example, just to quote from the September 24 North Bay Nugget, he said, "It will be important for the doctors to understand how the perception [of their status] is in society and how critical their reaction may be to the overall success of our program.''
I remind the Treasurer that this was some six months ago. Can he tell this House what has changed in the last six months, what has intervened to make him take a different view that he can afford to pay out to the doctors, depending on one's figures, $82 million, $70 million or whatever, when six months ago he thought it so important that they participate in the restraint program?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I would be very glad to answer that, Mr. Speaker. Of course, the honourable member realizes that at the time I made that statement Bill 179 was before this House. We were faced at that point with delegations either coming or about to come before the committee. We were faced with many people working for various levels of government in this province having a restriction on their salaries. This government had said it hoped that the physicians, although they were not employees, would understand that this was a difficult distinction to make in the eyes of many and that their participation on some basis that would need to be voluntary would help us greatly to sell to those people affected by the legislation the sense of basic fairness of that legislation.
That legislation has passed. The member asks me what has changed. The legislation has passed, and I have to give great credit to the people who are covered by it because they have reacted in a totally responsible way in Ontario, co-operating with the people they work for, in helping us fight inflation.
Mr. Peterson: So that I understand the position, the government did not take a hard line with the doctors then because other people were coming in and talking in committee about that legislation and the government was hoping they would voluntarily submit at the time.
Why did things change? The minister felt so strongly at the time that doctors should be involved to give a sense of fairness to that legislation. He knows the bitterness that legislation caused. He knows he has the control and he has the power to put the Ontario health insurance plan fees under that legislation. He had the power then and he did not take advantage of it. Then he tried to jawbone them into it voluntarily, and they refused his offer, for which I do not blame them. How does the minister expect anybody to submit voluntarily?
How can he go back now to people who have submitted and say, "We are going to carry the burden of restraint on the backs of the orderlies, the nursing assistants and the custodians but not on the backs of the doctors," and ask them to do their bit? How can he suggest now that this is fair when it was not fair then?
Hon. F. S. Miller: It is always nice for a party that has three positions on this matter to stand up. Let me recall the three positions his party had. The member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) said they were worth more; the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) said they were worth less; the Leader of the Opposition said he did not know what they were worth.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, now that the government has finally decided to honour its contract with the medical profession, unlike the contracts it has signed with its own employees, which it tore up, and unlike contracts with hospital workers, which it tore up, will the Treasurer now insist and take the necessary action to make sure that the doctors honour their end of the contract and charge one fee for medical services rendered to citizens of Ontario, and that is the OHIP fee, as in the terms of any normal contract?
Hon. F. S. Miller: My friend knows very well that was not part of the contract or the agreement as it stands. He knows that the right to opt out for a physician has existed in Ontario ever since health insurance was introduced. It was not part of that deal.
Mr. Peterson: Obviously, the Treasurer had trouble with the morality of the whole question and his pragmatic instincts prevailed; either that or he was mugged in cabinet by the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman). Who knows what happened?
May I have the Treasurer's assurance he will not increase OHIP premiums and that he will not come back to this House as a rationalization, if he does try to raise OHIP premiums, and say to us, "We need them to pay the doctors more because we do not have money in the Treasury now"? Will he give us that guarantee now?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No.
Mr. Peterson: I could ask who is running the government, Mr. Speaker.
CLOSURE OF FACILITIES FOR THE MENTALLY RETARDED
Mr. Peterson: Let me ask a question of the Premier with respect to the closing of the centres for the retarded, of which he is very well aware. The Premier will recall discussions that were held during his estimates. I thought he demonstrated some sensitivity to the question then. As nearly as I can remember, he said he was prepared to look at that question sensitively if perhaps the government had made a mistake.
The Premier is aware of the vast number of petitions that have been filed in this House, both from members on his side as well as members on this side. Some 20,000 signatures have now been filed by way of petition protesting against the closing of those centres for the retarded and, at the very least, asking for a moratorium to start the consultative process that was not in place when the plan to announce those closings was made.
Given all that has transpired since the last discussion in this House about that matter, will the Premier now consider the very thoughtful and, I believe, reasonable position of the parents involved in those centres to declare a moratorium and make sure there are no further closings, with no more residents shipped back to larger institutions, until there has been a full consultation program? Will the Premier use his good offices to declare that moratorium so we can at least have some thoughtful discussions on this whole matter?
Hon. Mr. Davis: This is a very sensitive area of government policy. I recognize this and I respect the concerns that have been expressed by a number of parents in a number of communities. In a personal way I have been rather closely associated with the programs for the mentally retarded ever since coming into this Legislature. I like to believe the policies of this government have not only been sensitive but in keeping with what we believe are the right directions to go.
I do not recall verbatim some of the discussions in the House because I did not research this at all, but my recollection is that when the government stated it was embarking upon a program of deinstitutionalization, if that is the right word for the approach that is being envisaged and what the ministry is doing, there was fairly general support for this as a matter of principle and of a philosophical nature. I regret it if the Leader of the Opposition is withdrawing what I sensed was his party's support for that general direction.
For those of us who represent smaller communities -- and this is the case as it relates to some of these institutions -- I think it is also realistic that there is a high emotional content, particularly when one is dealing with the parents of some of these people. I can speak with some knowledge of the sensitivity of the emotional feelings. I think the ministry has understood this. I have met directly in my own office with some of the people involved and other members of my staff have had meetings as well.
Because there is a period of time for some of these institutions, the ministry has been working with the people in the community. As an example, I think the honourable member is aware of the ongoing discussions that have been taking place in Elgin county with the centre in St. Thomas, where there is probably now a relative degree of acceptance. The honourable member shakes his head, but that is the impression we have.
While I am not for a moment saying there is a moratorium, because that would be misleading, I can only say that the government intends to handle all of these five or six situations with sensitivity and to have discussions with parents and representatives within the community. We believe we are going in the right direction in terms of the principle of the policy, but no one minimizes the concern that is being expressed by the communities and, more particularly, by the parents of the people who are affected.
Mr. Peterson: The Premier is aware we very well support the principle of deinstitutionalization, as do most members of the House, just as we support the monarchy, for example. We on this side of the House would never do anything to embarrass Her Majesty, but that is not the point.
The point is this: is the Premier aware that in closing the Brockville centre a number of those residents were shipped back to larger institutions? They went back to the Rideau Centre at Smiths Falls. Therefore, the Premier's stated aims of deinstitutionalization have not been carried out. We are taking people from medium-sized institutions that are working reasonably well to larger institutions that we all want to avoid, so the stated aim of the government's policy is not working.
Would the Premier reconsider what is transpiring in the light of those realities and in the light of the fact that we are not going to be able to have the group homes in place? There are problems with zoning in a variety of areas like Goderich.
Given those delays, will the Premier do the humane thing and call for a moratorium to make sure that everyone is satisfied that every single resident will be in the appropriate place when those centres are closed? Surely that is not an unreasonable request.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is a very difficult position for the ministry, because it is part of a longer process. The difficulty the ministry has is explaining, say, to the parents that in community A -- and let us stay away from the individual communities; I will not cite St. Thomas -- there will be a facility or a home in place.
Quite obviously if I were a parent and I saw the physical structure there, if I knew the accommodation was there, it would be more acceptable. Surely the Leader of the Opposition must understand that in order to bring this about one has to make certain decisions and then one implements the program in a sensitive fashion.
I do not think there is any contradiction. I am not the expert in this -- I really wish the Leader of the Opposition would direct his more particular questions to the minister -- but I have some sensitivity as to the general issues.
Once again, not referring to the people in St. Thomas, if the member would regard Cedar Springs as a larger institution, which it is in terms of size, if he has assessed the programs --and perhaps he has -- and the physical accommodation in Cedar Springs I think he will find that while it is a larger institution in his definition of the word, it is none the less an excellent institution.
I do not believe there is a contradiction in the policy of deinstitutionalization. The fact that a person is being moved from what is a relatively small institution to a larger institution does not limit the program or the care for these people because of its size. I say that very advisedly. I know there are shortcomings in every institution dealing with issues of this nature, but in any objective assessment, whether it is of the Rideau Centre, Cedar Springs, whatever, I take some pride in thinking this province is operating first-class facilities for this important part of our population.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, does the Premier not recognize that in making the major step in deinstitutionalization that has been made it is important to adhere to the basic principle of deinstitutionalization? That is, no one from these institutions should be going to another institution. We should be getting them all into the community and providing that kind of assistance to them.
Will the Premier not accept that as an important principle and that the statement about sending people back to Rideau at this point is making many parents afraid that it is their children who will be going back to other institutions and not into the community in a real deinstitutionalization?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am not an expert. I cannot say what is the best in terms of every single young person or a mature person in this group. I cannot answer that question.
I cannot honestly say to the member that every person who is now in one of our institutions, whether it be small or large, should be totally within the community. I am not sure that the interest of the patient, if that is the right word to use, is necessarily best served by this. I think one has to look at them almost individually and try to determine what is the best program and location for that individual.
I am delighted, though, to sense that at least this honourable member supports the concept of deinstitutionalization and that his objections may relate to the fact, not as to the closing of some of these but as to where the present patients or occupants ultimately may go.
That is one of the difficulties, as I tried to explain to the Leader of the Opposition. It is difficult for the ministry to invest in or to develop, shall we say, the much smaller community facility if it is not in a position to say that if we invest in that we are doing so because this larger facility will be closing.
I guess it is a question of what comes first. Do we build it first and then say, "Here we are," or do we say to the parents: "This is the direction we are going. You have the assurance of the government that patients are not going to be moved where we have said there will be other facilities until those facilities are there"? That is the general approach we are taking.
I really do wish the member would ask the minister in a more particular sense, because I know of the general issue but I cannot give him the specifics.
Mr. Peterson: I must say I have real difficulty understanding what the Premier is saying. He is saying that moving people from a small institution to a large institution is deinstitutionalization.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did not say that.
Mr. Peterson: It is not deinstitutionalization? I will check Hansard. Perhaps someone else in the room understood what he is talking about. I really do not.
Let me ask this question. The Premier is aware that a number of the residents in the medium-sized institutions had been in larger institutions -- Cedar Springs, Huronia, Smiths Falls -- and he is aware that the medium-sized institution was seen as an intermittent step towards the general objective of being out in the community in the small group home. But he is also aware, I am sure, that a number of residents have not been able to function in that community setting. I have talked with many parents who have had a lot of individual difficulties.
Would the Premier just stop, pause a bit and reassess what he is doing in consultation with each individual parent so he will be satisfied and they will be satisfied that the paramount factor will be the needs of each individual resident, not some grand program of either institutionalization or deinstitutionalization, whatever we want to call it, that has no particular relevance to the individuals concerned?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I regret that the honourable member had difficulty understanding what I was attempting to explain. I will assume responsibility for that, although I think there are several other members of the House who did understand.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Name one.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a feeling the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) understood what I was saying. He may not agree with it.
May I point out a contradiction to the Leader of the Opposition? He is saying to me that he is in favour of deinstitutionalization, that he does not want some of these people going back into the larger centres, at the same time as he says that some of them are not comfortable with a smaller community orientation. He cannot have it both ways.
What is also relevant is not just the philosophy of deinstitutionalization but a recognition that some institutions will still be necessary for a period of time until we reach whatever the ultimate solution may be, and what is relevant for those people is the quality of the program.
I do not happen to be as up to date, for instance on Cedar Springs, as I was four or five years ago, but with respect to the program and the facility itself the member should understand it is probably one of the best that any government can develop anywhere in this country, and to say we should not have people go there shows a certain lack of judgement on his part which is consistent with some of his other views on some other issues.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. In the light of the fact that as a result of the settlement he signed with the doctors last year, in 1984-85 the average income of a physician in this province will be $122,000, does he not feel this is sufficient income for the physicians of this province and that as a result of this settlement there should now be no extra billing carried on in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, for most of the physicians in this province I feel that the average income, which is what it is, is appropriate. However, of course, when one considers the fact that there is nothing in the Ontario health insurance plan schedule of benefits or in the Ontario Medical Association schedule -- which, as the honourable member knows, the OHIP schedule tracks -- to reflect merit, to reflect years of service or to reflect competence --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: There isn't here in the Legislature either.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Obviously, or else you would really be starving.
2:40 p m.
Mr. Rae: Why don't you stay on the point.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know you are sweating a little bit today, Robert; now just hear the answer.
If that schedule were flexible enough we would be in a position where the continent's leading specialists and surgeons would be able to earn -- let me say it quite openly -- what I consider to be an appropriate amount of money for the 10 or 15 years when they are at the top end of their competence and ability. Those would be their years between perhaps 40 and 53 or 54. Yet there is nothing in the fee schedule that allows us to pay those doctors, frankly, more than the income the member cited.
So one of the problems with the system is that the schedule that is currently in place is flat in the sense that the young person who graduated yesterday makes the same and earns the same as a person who is at the absolute height of his or her professional competence. The reality is that for some of those surgeons the figure cited is less than they are worth here, I would suggest, and certainly in other parts of the world.
Unless we are prepared to face up to the reality that some of those people will decide to leave Ontario, as many of them in fact decided to leave Quebec a few years ago and have been lost to Canada, we will be accepting the proposition that we would rather have everyone opted in with a lower quality of medicine than some people opted out providing the highest quality of medicine that is available anywhere in the world.
That is the circumstance we have today. I would say to the honourable leader of the third party, the benefit of it is that the better-off in society pay the freight for those --
Mr. Speaker: That was a very complete answer. Supplementary?
Mr. Rae: That is a nonsensical answer. The figure I gave is an average and the minister knows perfectly well that virtually every specialist in Ontario is making well above that average figure. The minister is well aware of that fact and the average takes that into consideration.
Anyway, last week he was talking about there being too many doctors and the fact that they are all flooding into Ontario and now he is parading this horror about how they are going to flood out again. What a load of malarkey.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: The Catholic Health Conference of Ontario, the Ontario Association of Professional Social Workers, the Medical Reform Group, the Patients' Rights Association, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, the United Senior Citizens of Ontario and the Consumers' Association of Canada, Ontario chapter, in the briefs they have presented to the minister for the conference he is holding next week, all have said they are opposed to extra billing.
I would like to ask the minister how many consultations it will take before the government comes to terms with the fact that the vast majority of citizens and health care professionals in this province think extra billing is unacceptable in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Might I say to those who perhaps did not have an opportunity to read and study my remarks with regard to numbers of doctors over the weekend, what I was referring to, of course, and what I made quite explicit at that time -- and indeed the member's Health critic has heard me talk about it and could have informed his leader with regard to the problem -- was that the problem is we would lose the doctors we need to keep and in some areas --
Mr. Stokes: Prove to the people in northern Ontario that there are too many doctors.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Lake Nipigon is quite right, we do not have enough. Overall, we have too many, but I do not want to lose our best and I am not prepared to lose our best for the sake of having something that the member philosophically finds more comfortable, which is lowest-common-denominator medicine.
Mr. Foulds: Why are you not in medicine, then?
Mr. Rae: If that were true, the minister would be practising.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me also say I understand the problem. The Ontario Federation of Labour told the members opposite to tell us not to roll back the doctors; I understand.
In direct answer to the latter question, and there were two, as to how many briefs it will take from groups such as the member for York South has named to convince us to end extra billing in this province, might I say those very groups, almost all of which I have met, have all indicated that the burden of taxation upon their people -- be it retail sales tax, be it income tax, be it OHIP premiums -- is very significant.
One of the things those people would quite justifiably complain about would be the consequence of what we might call the Emmett Hall formula which the member's party supported last year. Let us make it clear, that formula would end up paying those doctors more through an opted-in OHIP schedule of benefits. There is only one place for that money to come from. It is not only from the rich in society who are extra-billed. It would be from the retail sales tax base. It would be from the liquor, alcohol, all the other taxes that very many people at the lower economic bracket happen to pay.
Ms. Copps: What about OHIP premiums?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And OHIP premiums.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious the minister was somewhat chagrined yesterday when despatched from cabinet by the Premier to announce to the waiting press in the hall this very embarrassing decision that the government has made not to include the doctors in the restraint program. As I understand him to have said yesterday, the government's program now, its plan now, is to pay the doctors back in the next negotiating period for them not voluntarily submitting to the restraint program now.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I understand the Leader of the Opposition likes to threaten and operate that way. He really wanted to get on the radio this morning and punish the docs. I understand that, but we do not operate that way over here.
Might I say though, the member asked whether I was sent out and he said it was an embarrassing situation. What I call an embarrassing situation is the one the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) found himself in when he told -- I do like to follow the meanderings of the Liberal members -- the members of the Ontario Medical Association in Niagara Falls on April 8 that basically he was against rolling back the docs. That is what he told them. Now that is embarrassing.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Bellwoods.
Mr. McClellan: I was sure I heard a point of privilege from somewhere. It must have been an echo.
Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary, I would like to ask --
Mr. Speaker: Let us hear the question please.
Mr. McClellan: I would like to ask the minister, who keeps repeating the totally --
Mr. Kerrio: I am not embarrassed I said it.
Mr. McClellan: I cannot even hear myself.
Mr. Speaker: No, I know.
Mr. Kerrio: On a matter of privilege, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: No, there is no privilege, no.
Mr. Speaker: Order. There is no point of privilege. The member for Bellwoods.
Mr. McClellan: I would like to ask the minister --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Now, if we are quite finished, the member for Bellwoods.
Mr. McClellan: I would like to ask the minister, who keeps repeating the totally false and preposterous statement that only the rich are being extra-billed -- he repeated it again today; it is totally false and he knows it -- if he would share with us the data, which undeniably he has if he is concerned that the average net takehome pay of general practitioners and surgeons, which will be $122,000 a year by the end of 1985, is inadequate for the doctors who are worth more money.
Would he be so kind as to tell us what his officials estimate will be the average net takehome pay of an obstetrician by the end of 1985, since 65 per cent of the obstetricians are opted out in Toronto and presumably are free to charge up to 40 per cent and in some cases 100 per cent above the OHIP fee schedule; and would he tell us perhaps what the average net takehome pay of a general surgeon will be at the end of 1985 and what the average pay of an anaesthetist will be?
Mr. Speaker: I think we will just deal with the first one, the obstetrician.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Obviously, to the extent that extra billing involves a free market decision with regard to the patients and what they are prepared to pay for those services, I could not estimate what the price of that service will be in 1985 any more than the member could estimate what the price of a litre of gasoline may be.
Mr. Rae: It is nice to know that private profit medicine is alive and well in Tory Ontario.
Mr. Kerrio: May I present my point of privilege now?
Mr. Speaker: I will listen to you now.
Mr. Kerrio: Thank you very much.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health made a statement that he suggested was something I said in a meeting I had with the doctors of Niagara Falls. I am afraid the minister did not relate everything that was said at the meeting.
My position was very clear to the good doctors of Niagara Falls. The fact of the matter is that we did have a meeting so they could put their position to myself and the federal minister. In fact, the point was being made more to the federal minister, because Mme Bégin is talking about not letting the doctors opt out and of course they wanted a meeting so that such a thing should not happen to them.
My participation had to do with meeting with them and telling them that I felt the same way as our party did when we debated the bill, and that was that everyone in this great province should participate in the restraint program, those gentlemen as well as the rest of us.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I should take this opportunity to admit that t did not recite fully, as the member for Niagara Falls mentioned, everything he said. To clarify the record, he said further: "Basically I am in agreement" --
Mr. Nixon: What are you quoting from?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: From his remarks. "Basically I am in agreement, because I am in private enterprise and am on the right wing of caucus'" -- it gets better -- "and influential in being a moderating force against people like Sheila Copps."
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is quickly degenerating into a debate. I think you have both made your points very well. I have listened patiently and I have failed to identify a point of privilege.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, if you are going to allow --
Mr. Speaker: No, no. Order, please.
Mr. Speaker: I think I gave you the opportunity of refuting fully what was said about your position. The minister chose to respond with a further quotation. This could go on all afternoon. I am not prepared to allow that, because we have other pressing business before this chamber.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO WORK
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier has to do with property rights. As the Premier is aware, plants are closing across this province and a great many workers are being laid off. I am sure the Premier will appreciate that a great many of those workers feel they have a kind of property right in their job.
In the light of what is happening in this province, the number of layoffs that are taking place and the tremendous insecurity that is out there as a result of this very serious recession that is taking place, I wonder if the Premier would consider adding the words "livelihood" and "shelter" to the property rights concept which he wants to entrench in the Constitution and which we are quite prepared to support.
Given that we are writing a Constitution for 20th century Ontario, does he not believe that workers are also entitled to protection and to natural justice and fundamental justice with respect to their jobs and their protection, and that tenants are entitled to that same kind of protection as well?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think we have to be realistic and practical. I was one of those in support of a very all-encompassing preamble to the Constitution, which was not accepted. Now that goes back several years, where many of these hopes were expressed in such a preamble.
I think the senior citizen from Riverdale, who has now moved into the second row of that party's benches -- and I would say to the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) that we over here respect senior citizens. He would have had the second seat in the front row over here any time at all. He would have, without any question. He would be right next door to the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) and he could not have a better seatmate.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Dealing with this in a realistic fashion, I think all of us would like to express the philosophy or the hope that not only workers but some might even say politicians have security of employment. The leader of the third party and I both know that will never be the case, nor should it be the case in terms of people in our profession. Certainly as far as some of those members are concerned we are doing our best to see that their tenure is very brief, but that is part of the process. He understands that and I do.
To include this in the Constitution in a way that I guess he would then suggest should be legally enforceable in law, I think he recognizes the practical limitations of doing that. No one is quarrelling with the general idea that all of us should have gainful employment and that all of us want shelter. Those are commendable objectives, objectives which this government is striving to achieve, but I really question the wisdom of putting it into a charter.
Mr. Rae: I hope the Premier is not suggesting that because we are putting property rights into the Constitution it means everybody in the country is necessarily going to want to, or in all circumstances be able to, exercise that right of ownership. The Premier has trivialized the issue and trivialized the comparison. Surely the point is that people should not be deprived of their jobs and of shelter without due process of law.
Given the fact that his government has dropped its commitments to improvements in severance pay legislation and improvements in legislation on unfair dismissal, how does he expect the workers of this province or the tenants of this province or people who are affected by this kind of insecurity -- farmers and everybody else -- to take seriously his concern about their property rights?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I suggest the next time the leader of the third party has lunch in the Sanssouci room with the president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture he tells him the New Democratic Party is opposed to putting property rights into the charter.
Mr. Rae: I never said that. Point of order, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary to the Premier. First of all, I want to thank him for making the statement today. But given the fact that a good number of the provinces are led by the Premier's Conservative colleagues across the country --
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Not too many of them are led by Liberals anyway.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Epp: -- and given the fact that he has had over the last number of years an opportunity to discuss this same measure with his colleagues the Premiers of different provinces, can we conclude that all those governments will now support in their own legislatures the entrenchment of property rights? Could the Premier indicate to us that he expects those provinces will support a similar resolution in their own provinces?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I really do not think the honourable member expects me to give the answer he would like me to give. I understand his references to Progressive Conservative governments in different parts of Canada and a growing recognition on his part that within the next 15 months there will be a Progressive Conservative government in charge in Ottawa. I understand that feeling.
Mr. Speaker: Is the Premier prepared to comment on the question at hand?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am, but I thought a part of the question from the member for Waterloo North was whether I knew there were a number of provinces where they had the enlightened instincts to elect a Conservative government. Was that not part of the question?
Mr. Speaker: No, that was --
Mr. Nixon: No.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I heard that.
I shall answer very briefly and seriously. I cannot commence to speculate on the attitude of other governments. We know what British Columbia has done. There have been some discussions, but I cannot say what other governments will do.
Mr. Rae: Just for the record, I want the Premier to know that we in our party believe so strongly in private property that we think everybody should have some and not just the banks and the mortgage companies.
I would simply like to ask the Premier, does he not think the workers of this province whose jobs are threatened and who do not have protection with respect to unfair dismissal or with respect to adequate severance pay legislation, the farmers of this province, the tenants of this province and the many people who need shelter and who do not have shelter should be able to have the same kinds of legal protection as do those people with property rights as they have been defined up to the present time? Does he not think those people should have fundamental rights protected in our Constitution as well?
Hon. Mr. Davis: As I read the charter, I think "fundamental rights" are protected in the Constitution. I think the member is stretching it in his views on dismissal. I think that is a valid area for discussion and debate, but to include in the Constitution a set of economical parameters that are unrealistic is really not the job of a charter or a constitution.
While I do not have many farmers in my riding, I have far more in my riding than the member has in his, and I can still say in this House that while they are concerned about many other things, a lot of the farmers in my constituency want their property rights in the Constitution.
CONVERSION OF RENTAL UNITS
Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. The minister is no doubt aware that the newest trick being employed by landlords to evict tenants and raise rents illegally is the nominal conversion of apartments into supposed hotel units. In the case of 200 Jameson Avenue in my riding, of the 97 units in the building that have been furnished and are now being advertised as hotel units, the landlord applied to the Residential Tenancy Commission for rent increases for only 48 units in the building, claiming the other 39 units were hotel suites and therefore not subject to review. The commission disagreed with the landlord's interpretation and the matter is now being appealed.
Before an avalanche of similar cases emerges, will the minister request that the board of commissioners of the Residential Tenancy Commission amend its guidelines to ensure that landlords cannot escape from the rent review process by merely furnishing empty units and calling them hotel suites?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the important part of the question is the point that the issue has been appealed and it will be adjudicated by the appeal board. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment on it. I am sure the honourable member knows there are several other units related to the same ownership that are also under appeal at present, the commissioner initially having rejected the claim.
I am sure the member understands that there is a commission of inquiry sitting now reviewing matters related to rent review. I am certain that is a matter the commissioner will take into his consideration. It will be drawn to his attention.
Mr. Ruprecht: I do not think for one minute that it is inappropriate for the minister to comment on this issue. He is entrusted with a responsibility to protect tenants. That is the issue here.
The appeal hearing for 200 Jameson Avenue had originally been scheduled for March 31. It gets more complicated. It was postponed because the landlord wanted to amend his notice of appeal. On comparing the amended notice of appeal to the original one, it is clear the landlord has changed his approach.
Originally he disputed the commission's finding that the furnished units were rental units. On the amended notice the landlord states that the furnished units are rental units but that they have not been used as such for a period of at least 12 months prior to the commission's hearing. Precisely, that is the point.
I want to know from the minister what steps he is prepared to take. Perhaps he can tell us that today. If he is not prepared to intervene in the specific instance of 200 Jameson Avenue, which we have now made public, when will he intervene to protect the tenants in all of Ontario in this situation?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: This was a matter that was discussed at some length in committee last year. The member knows full well that this Legislature, when there was a minority government, did pass section 4 which provided for an exemption with respect to transient accommodation. He knows that the matters go before a commissioner for review. If he is suggesting that I should put myself into the place of the commissioner and direct him as to what to do, I have to tell the member I do not do that.
With respect to the protection of tenants' interests, t do not think there is anyone in this province who does not understand that this is what I am doing.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. He is quoted in today's press as saying, "I challenge anyone to show there was not enough money in the federal budget for job creation." How can the Treasurer make such a silly comment when the federal budget says the unemployment rate this year will be 12.4 per cent? Next year it will be over 11 per cent, and it will be over 10 per cent until 1986.
Is the Treasurer satisfied that the $1.2 billion in the federal budget in the coming year is adequate to address the employment crisis? Can he assure us that he will take the employment crisis more seriously in his provincial budget than Mr. Lalonde has in his budget?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I learned long ago to look at the context of a quote. Those words, "I challenge anybody," do not sound like me. They easily could be me, and I could hear them back on a tape in the middle of one of the scrum discussions, but I do not recall even having that general thrust in my comments.
When somebody asked me if I would be spending more or whether there was enough, I think the words I used were something like "I challenge anybody to tell me how much is enough," or some words of that nature, because I really do not know how much is enough in this world.
It is very difficult to say what form the $4.8 billion that Mr. Lalonde referred to will take. It depends on whether one uses his pre-leak or after-leak figures. His $4.8 billion was actually aimed at both tax benefits and direct capital works programs. I think roughly $2.4 billion was aimed at capital works programs and $2.4 billion at some forms of stimulation of the private sector.
I have some difficulty in being able to translate exactly any method of proof that takes $2.4 billion of tax benefits and says it caused so many jobs. That is where the kind of challenge was being mounted.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, the minister will recognize that budget is spread over a four-year period and that unemployment is going to remain at the levels stated by the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke). Does the minister not find that intolerable? He has received letters from me and a second one which I passed on to him from one Jim Burkitt, who said the following:
"So I am currently living a limbo-like existence at the present time, searching for a job that will allow me to exist. Indeed, I don't see too much of a future, other than one that would allow for basic existence. I am thankful that I do not have a family to support. I can imagine the humiliation and exasperation of a man or a woman that has to explain joblessness to his children."
Does the minister not think that, as Treasurer, it is unacceptable to say that we will allow a continuation of 12 per cent unemployment so people like this man will continue to suffer over the next four years? Will he not today commit himself to having a major job creation component -- direct job creation -- by his government in his budget?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I would suspect if he asked, as I have been asking a lot of people around Ontario, where they really think jobs are best created, most would still say not in those major government job direct creation projects but somehow out there in small business and hopefully in big business, where the jobs not only provide an income for a family but also some addition to the gross product of this nation that can be shared by all of us, either through the tax system or some other route.
Government job creation activities are always important. No matter what members on the other side of the House may say, we have a very good record of having intervened in a bad year, 1982, with an effort which on a per year basis is at least equal to the figures Mr. Lalonde used over four years. One of the favourite new tricks of the federal government is to make everything for four or five years; so the figure used sounds great. If one uses it three or four times in the same speech, no one will know what it is.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer has some reservations, I gather, about public programs to create jobs. This is reflected in the actual numbers of jobs he will be creating through his programs this year, through the Ontario youth employment program and Experience '83. In fact, he will produce 16,300 fewer jobs this year than he did a year ago, even though we are facing record unemployment of 233,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24, some 22.2 per cent.
Since he believes the private market should take up these jobs, can he tell us how many jobs he is going to create through the private market, with any help he is prepared to render? What are his targets?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, my target, of course, is a job for every able-bodied man and woman in this province who is seeking one. That is the only legitimate target of any government. The big difference is how to do it. I suggest to the honourable member again that the people of this province have a great deal more faith in the government of Ontario's ability to deal with their problems than it has in the federal government's or, indeed, his.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Can the minister indicate what studies are being done by his ministry to determine whether the maple killback in the Parry Sound area is related to acid rain? Will he tell the House whether he now can table an inventory of that kill?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I will attempt to get that information for the honourable member if it is yet available and get back to him when it is ready.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Will the minister also report to the House as to what level of investigation is taking place? In other words, how seriously does his ministry take this maple killback? Is he liaising with other parts of Canada that are experiencing a similar phenomenon? Is he also, through his ministry, liaising on the research work that is apparently being done in Europe to determine whether acid rain is actually killing off maple forests?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Both as the Ministry of Natural Resources and as a government through the Ministry of the Environment, we do have a research and scientific relationship with European jurisdictions. I happen to believe that Ontario and Canadian jurisdictions lead the way in this kind of scientific research, and I will be pleased to share that information with the member.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, when the minister is replying to the honourable member who just asked the question, will he also reply to my question of yesterday about the loss of two jobs in the Huntsville sign shops of the Ministry of Natural Resources?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, my answer is contained in my letter to the honourable member, dated April 7, 1983, of which he knew when he asked the question yesterday.
Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour, by which I would like to switch the focus from the $122,000 doctors to the working poor of Ontario.
Can the minister tell this House why in the past 18 months he has failed to do anything to improve the minimum wage in this province when within that same period of time his government has increased welfare benefits, Family Benefits Act benefits, Workers' Compensation Board benefits and pension supplement benefits? He has done nothing. Why?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, the matter of the minimum wage has been under review in our ministry. I remind the honourable member that the minimum wage in Ontario is the same as the federal minimum wage. At the moment we have no plans to raise it.
Mr. Samis: Can the minister tell the House and the working poor of this province why the minimum wage in this province is the lowest in all of mainland Canada? Why are we below such have-not provinces as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: The member has to take into consideration the difficult times in which employers and employees are during this recession.
WHITE FARM EQUIPMENT
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Trade, having to do with the status of White Farm Equipment in Brantford. He may recall that about a year ago this House approved a combination of grants and loans of about $5.5 million for the company. Can he explain to the House why, with that sort of support, the company employment has fallen from about 1,000 to a mere handful of custodians and one or two office workers?
Can he comment on rumours in the community that the company is about to cease functioning altogether?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, all I can say to the honourable member is that the entire industry is really down and has been down for some time. The anticipated turnaround expected just a short while ago did not occur, and the industry certainly has continued to be in a very difficult state ever since. That is true whether one looks at Massey-Ferguson, at White Farm Equipment or even at John Deere, which in terms of profitability is probably the most successful one at the moment; but even that firm is down substantially, with a substantial number of people on layoff.
White Farm Equipment has only 146 people working there now out of the total number that could have been there. That number is very unfortunate. International Harvester is having a lot of difficulty now and is basically on partial shutdown. In essence, the firm is not going to be producing in a short while; so there is a period of shutdown. We hope it will get back.
All we can do is hope that the entire industry does return. One has to relate it to interest rates; one has to relate it to commodity prices; one has to relate it simply to the ability of farmers to buy the equipment that is there, and all of us know some of the difficulties that the farming communities across the world have gone through.
I simply have to say to the member that all we can do is hope for a restoration of the industry. If that happens, it will obviously mean a restoration of the employment levels, including that of White Farm Equipment; if it does not materialize soon enough, then it is going to mean some very difficult times for some of the industries.
Mr. Nixon: Since the minister was one of the people who was in a position to approve or disapprove the American buyout a year ago, is he negotiating with any of the American owners or their representatives for any more financial or other types of assistance? And is he not aware that Massey has brought back one full shift and is turning out combines, although White seems to have made no effort whatsoever to continue any sort of production or even to stimulate sales?
Hon. Mr. Walker: It is conceivable that there could be some discussions going on between people at White and people within the ministry, but to my knowledge we are not negotiating with the American owners. When this was subject to discussion last year, as the member will recall, the only alternative to the agreement then entered into would have been the complete closure of the industry. That being the case, I think even the member would have found it unacceptable.
Mr. Nixon: That was not the only alternative.
Hon. Mr. Walker: That, I think, was the case.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, in his first answer to the previous questioner, the minister enunciated four major firms that had suffered severe losses in jobs and employment creation opportunities. What happened to his commitment, when he assumed this portfolio, that his top priority was going to be jobs, jobs and more jobs? Are the only jobs he has created those nine in the factory in southwestern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member should not be asking how badly Ontario is doing; he should be saying how well it is doing, given the fact that the entire world economy is down. I think he is the one who is merely making a fuss over it.
If one looks at the level of unemployment that Ontario has sustained, if that is the only way to measure it, it ranks infinitely better in comparison with all the industrial states that surround us; they wish they had our problems. The problem with the member opposite is that he looks at everything with a black cloud. For a change, why does he not look at something and say we should be giving some support to the economy, some support to business? When he starts doing that, people will give the members opposite more credence.
Mr. Laughren: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I wonder whether you could have the Minister of Industry and Trade pass on what he just said to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) in view of the Minister of Labour's comments about not being able to raise the minimum wage.
FUEL TAX ACT REGULATIONS
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Revenue, who on several occasions now has had the complexity of the manner in which taxes are collected in Ontario questioned in the Legislature and in the courts.
I want to refer him to the latest report of the standing committee on regulations and other statutory instruments, on this occasion talking about the Fuel Tax Act, 1981, and Ontario Regulation 772/82. If I might just quote briefly, the committee said, "The refund is made to the middle man in the transaction, and the committee can find no statutory authority in the three extracts quoted above or elsewhere to authorize such a provision in the regulation."
When is the minister going to make this process legal?
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, I am reluctant to respond to that question without having the particular reference and the regulations in front of me. If the honourable member will provide them to me, I will be happy to get back to him. I can appreciate the concern, and, will be happy to respond in due course.
Mr. Breaugh: The minister has had it brought to his attention on several occasions now that the legality of the techniques used to collect taxes has been challenged, particularly when the government is very fond of using retailers, for example, to collect the tax on a particular product. That has been challenged, and we are interested in knowing when the minister is going to make this process, of which he is so fond, a legal process.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: The last statement by the member is incorrect. The process of the collection of sales tax at the distributor or wholesale level, in the case of motor vehicle fuels and tobacco tax, has not been challenged in the recent reference. It was a case of prosecution for illegally importing cigarettes from another jurisdiction. The defence used that and the judge threw out our charges on the basis of that, but it was not a challenge per se.
Frankly, we see no great problems from that. If there are any, we have an obligation to protect the revenues of the province and of the people of Ontario and we will do so if need be.
DEATHS AT HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN
Ms. Copps: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: In view of the article in this morning's Toronto Star and in view of various news reports with respect to the calling of a public inquiry into the investigations at the Hospital for Sick Children, I wonder when we can expect a statement on this matter from either the minister involved or the government.
Mr. Speaker: I think you should put that question at the appropriate time.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, speaking to the same point of privilege, it is a matter of real concern to members of this assembly that repeatedly, time and time again, matters dealing with the Hospital for Sick Children and other urgent questions have been released to the Toronto Star and other newspapers, but particularly the Star for some reason, before commitments that have been made to this assembly have been honoured.
Mr. Speaker: I have to rule that is not a proper point of privilege.
Mr. O'Neil: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: We already have one. Sorry.
CAPITAL GRANTS FOR EDUCATION
Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Speaker, the members on this side of the Legislature thought the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) might be releasing to all members this afternoon the capital grants for the different boards of education across the province. I wonder whether that information is going to be provided today.
Mr. Speaker: Obviously she did not, and I have no way of knowing whether she will or will not. Maybe we could --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Maybe we could all wait until tomorrow.
Mr. Speaker: Order. That question should more properly have been placed during question period.
Mr. Boudria: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Education has permitted other cabinet ministers to announce today the capital grants for education in my riding. That minister is here right now.
Mr. Speaker: Order. That is not a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Foulds: If I may say so, Mr. Speaker, I have an extremely urgent and serious point of order. I wonder whether it is too late to move that the ordinary business of the House be set aside so that the exchange between the Minister of Health and the member for Niagara Falls --
Mr. Speaker: You are indeed too late.
INDIAN FISHING RIGHTS
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition on Indian fishing rights, addressed to the Minister of Natural Resources, which states:
"The Conservative government of Ontario has signed an agreement with the status Indians of Ontario giving them the right to harvest fish at any time of year by whatever means without a licence or authorization. Also, certain lakes will be zoned such that they will be reserved for the exclusive use of Indian people.
"Should the federal government sign this pact, it will become law and cannot be terminated for at least five years. If the agreement is signed, it cannot be produced or referred to before a court except for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of the agreement.
"Therefore, we the undersigned strongly disagree with the signing of the agreement by the federal government. We demand that our Ontario government retract their signing of this agreement."
It is signed by 145 disconcerted residents of Ontario.
Mr. Hennessy: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition for the Minister of Natural Resources, signed by 2,600 people. The letter reads as follows:
"This letter is written in regard to the Indian fishing pact signed on December 17, 1982, between the Ontario Conservative government and certain status Indian hands. Due to concerns of conservation and the apparent lack of study regarding possible environmental problems and the economic impact of all user groups, I strongly disagree with this pact.
"I request you, as my parliamentary representative, to ensure that the interests of all user groups are heard and considered. Only after such input and study can we have an acceptable agreement which may result in better fisheries management."
Mr. Speaker: Order.
CLOSING OF CENTENNIAL SECONDARY SCHOOL
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by more than 7,000 people opposing the closing of the newest and best secondary school in the growth area of the city of Welland, the Centennial Secondary School. I would like to pass this petition over to the Minister of Education.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
VITAL STATISTICS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Elgie moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Drea, first reading of Bill 13, An Act to amend the Vital Statistics Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, this is reintroduction of the same bill that was in the House last session.
LAND TRANSFER TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Ramsay, first reading of Bill 14, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, this bill will ensure that a nonresident may not avoid the 20 per cent tax imposed on conveyances at agricultural land. Under the current Land Transfer Tax Act, it is possible for a nonresident to avoid payment of the proper rate of tax through the purchase of shares in a company that owns Ontario agricultural land or by acquiring the beneficial interest of a trust that owns agricultural land.
As well, a number of administrative amendments are included in the bill that will extend the notice of objection and appeals provisions, allow nonresident purchasers to pay the lower rate of tax on acquisitions of agricultural and recreational land in Ontario for certain specified purposes, recognize the single consolidated affidavit and provide for the determination of the value of consideration on certain conveyances.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Newman moved, seconded by Mr. Wrye, first reading of Bill 15, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Newman: Mr. Speaker, this bill requires that every product offered for sale by a retailer that is marked with the universal product code must also be clearly marked with its individual purchase price. This would ensure the purchaser or the consumer the privilege of comparison shopping rather than simply shopping without knowing the price of the article.
ELECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Boudria moved, seconded by Ms. Copps, first reading of Bill 16, An Act to amend the Election Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, this bill would provide for a procedure of voting by mail for the convenience of persons physically incapable of attending a polling place. This system would be an alternative to the present procedure of voting by proxy.
The bill was introduced in the last session and has since received the approval of the Ontario March of Dimes, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada and several other groups.
MOTION TO SET ASIDE ORDINARY BUSINESS
Ms. Copps moved, seconded by Mr. Nixon, that pursuant to standing order 34(a), the ordinary business of the House be set aside in order to debate a matter of urgent public importance, namely, the recent decision on the part of the Ontario cabinet not to include the doctors of Ontario in the province's wage restraint program, thus necessitating the expenditure of large sums of public moneys to meet the increases in the doctors' fee schedule, funds which could more properly be applied to job creation programs to help alleviate this province's continuing unemployment crisis, particularly among Ontario's youth.
Mr. Speaker: I wish to advise all honourable members that the notice of motion has, in fact, been received in time. I am prepared to listen for up to five minutes to why the honourable member feels the ordinary business of the House should be set aside.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, first of all, it is with regret that I rise, and I am sure with regret on the part of the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) that I have to rise today, to move such a motion. I can understand why the minister would resort to the kind of ghoulish spying tactics he used on the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio), because when somebody is going down he must go down kicking and screaming.
If we look back at the comments that have been made by the Premier (Mr. Davis), the Minister of Health and the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) over the last six months, we certainly cannot understand why they would not have supported legislation which would have brought the doctors into the program.
I think we have all had our fun here in the House and, believe me, we have all enjoyed the spying tactics of the Minister of Health. But, at the same time, there is a fundamental principle involved here, which obviously the NDP are not involved with in the sense that they support the position of the doctors receiving the amount of money they are going to receive; therefore, since they are out of the play, they must of necessity come on the attack as well.
There is a fundamental principle involved here. I am sure any of you who joined with me in the 1981 provincial election will remember that there were hospital workers at that time who were forced to go out on an illegal strike in order to make a point for economic remuneration. Since that time, we, as a party, and the government of the province of Ontario have called upon the people of Ontario, the public servants of Ontario, to make extraordinary sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty in view of the dire economic straits that this government has led this province into.
We, as a party, supported that legislation. We supported it because we believe that these are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures. The government espoused those measures last December. I think all of the government members must sit and really feel rather embarrassed about what has happened in cabinet in the sense of how they can go back to their ridings. How can the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) speak to the labouring people of this province and ask those people, ask the private sector, ask the public sector, to make the kinds of sacrifices that have been required by legislation under Bill 179 at the same time that we do not have the courage of our conviction when it comes to the highest income group in Ontario? I would have to agree with my leader, who yesterday said that the sheer hypocrisy of the position taken by this government has been absolutely unbelievable.
For the record, I would like to read some of the comments made by our esteemed Premier in the month leading up to his hint that the doctors would be brought in under the restraint program. "I will deal with the medical profession. I know those people would love to legislate those doctors back as all public servants on a salary. That is the stated objective of the New Democratic Party. I would say to the honourable member I recognize the sensitivity of the issue. The medical profession is aware that we are calling on all people in public life and people in the public service to recognize the serious nature of the situation."
Again, there were comments made by the Minister of Health as late as September 30, 1982. Mr. Grossman said, "The province needs the doctors' co-operation to fight inflation because the more people that are involved in setting an example in all the private sector, the better the program will be. That is the whole point of the exercise." Mr. Grossman said the doctors had forced the government's hand. Well, that is clear enough. Mr. Grossman told reporters, "There is a chance the provincial government would bring the doctors under provincial restraint if no voluntary plan is offered."
That was tough talk that, unfortunately, collapsed when the chips were down. It seems to me that if we, as a government, as an opposition party and as a people, are to send a message of restraint out to our public sector and to make those demands and to ask those sacrifices of our public servants, the cleaning ladies and medical aids in the hospitals, as well as those who are involved in other public and parapublic sectors, we cannot do it on the backs of the lowest paid of the public servants while we do not demand the same example from the highest paid.
Frankly, if we look back to Bill 179, if we look back to the section on price restraint, I think it will be found that our motion is in order and the government should move in this direction.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of the emergency debate resolution before us this afternoon. I had a series of reasons why we needed an emergency debate, and we obviously have an additional reason today. Perhaps in the course of the debate over the whole afternoon, the Liberal Party will be able to arrive at a single, coherent position on the issue.
Mr. Foulds: Now that the member for Niagara Falls Mr. Kerrio is out of the House, they might.
Mr. Conway: So are Morty Shulman and Ed Ziemba. I mean let him with a stone, sin -- cast the first stone, or whatever way it is.
Mr. McClellan: He without stone will cast the first sin.
I point with amazement at the absence of the leader of the Liberal Party, who only this morning said he had never been so angry in his entire life as he is and was over the question of the doctors. Of course, that was before the terrible ghoulish spying of the Minister of Health blew the whistle on the positions variously of the members of the Liberal Party. It is unfortunate that the performance of the Liberal Party here this afternoon has been so clownish that it has trivialized the issue, because it is an important issue.
The position the New Democratic Party has taken from the beginning of this fiasco -- and it is a fiasco -- is that the OHIP contract between the government and the Ontario Medical Association should be binding on both parties. It seems to me to be a fairly elementary proposition that a contract between two parties ought to be binding on both parties. We are saying it should be binding on the government --
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Just in terms of position --
Mr. Foulds: No, no, not during the five minutes.
Mr. Speaker: Order. No, no.
Ms. Copps: Okay.
Mr. McClellan: A contract between two parties should be binding on both parties. The OHIP contract should be binding on the government and the government has taken the position that it will honour the contract. Even though it is tearing up the contracts of its employees and its hospital workers, it is honouring the contract with the doctors on its part.
But there is no obligation on the part of the medical profession to honour its side of the contract. They are perfectly free to disregard the OHIP contract, the contract which sets the OHIP fee schedule. They are perfectly free to charge whatever the traffic will bear. It is as crude as that. We have evidence that in some hospitals in the city of Toronto obstetricians are charging up to 100 per cent above the OHIP fee schedule for a full-care childbirth. I raised examples here in the Legislature at the conclusion of the last session.
I want to stress that the terms of Bill 179 with respect to the administered price section and how that section would apply to the doctors was a fake from the start. My colleagues in the Liberal Party knew it was a fake from the start. The government could easily have written legislation that made it absolutely clear that the OHIP fee schedule was included in the definition of administered price. The government said from the beginning with complete callous and open hypocrisy that it intended to exclude the doctors.
Nevertheless, my colleagues in the Liberal Party supported Bill 179. They supported it from day one. They supported it when it became absolutely clear that the government had not the slightest intention of including the doctors and that the highest paid group in Ontario would be excluded. They still voted for Bill 179. I believe they voted for it at least five times, on five separate occasions. Now the leader of the Liberal Party and the health critic for the Liberal Party come into the Legislature shedding crocodile tears about the outrageous behaviour of the government. Where were my dear friends when they had the opportunity to oppose the government?
They cannot have it both ways. A contract is a contract. We would not rip up the contracts of the hospital workers and we would not rip up the contracts of the civil servants. We would not allow doctors who are being paid such extravagantly lavish salaries, which will return a net income of $122,00O a year before the end of the contract, to break the contract by charging fees in excess of the OHIP fee schedule.
We would be pleased to debate this further this afternoon if you so rule, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Wrye: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I have sat by and listened to the end of the speech by my friend from Bellwoods, but I cannot let it go by, when he talks about hypocrisy, that his party launched the filibuster that prevented our amendment from coming to the floor for --
Mr. Speaker: Order. That is no privilege. The Minister of Health. He just dropped his speech.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: But I haven't lost my marbles like others.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: David Peterson. He sits in the middle over there. I remember.
Mr. Speaker, the issue to which you have to address yourself is whether this is a matter of urgent public importance and warrants an emergency debate, which you would have to decide has to be held this very afternoon. I would point out that in the notice of motion it is suggested that it is a recent decision on the part of the Ontario cabinet not to include the doctors in the province's wage restraint program. Of course, it would be inaccurate to suggest that it is a recent decision; it is a long-standing decision made last September.
Second, I would point out that there has been no change since that time, no change in the funding available to the health care system. In fact, there has been an increase, if anything, in the funding available to the health care system.
There is no imminent problem that has erupted since yesterday. The province's financial status has not changed one bit as a result of the confirmation yesterday that a decision made last September was not being changed. With regard to the imminent public importance of this matter with respect to provincial revenues, it will be about four or five weeks until the payments go out based on the new fee schedule; so there will be no change in the provincial balance sheet as of this afternoon.
Finally and most important, the real issue here is whether there is a need at all to discuss it today in view of the fact that the budget is coming down several weeks from today. The thrust of the motion is that the decision made last September somehow has created a situation that makes it difficult for the province to help alleviate the continuing unemployment crisis, particularly among Ontario's youth.
That, as the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) has already stated, will be the main thrust of his budget. It would be difficult if not impossible, and certainly useless, to debate this matter today without having the benefit of the Treasurer's financial picture as he will lay it out on May 10, without having the benefit of his analysis of the revenues available to this province and without his analysis and decisions with regard to where he intends to spend the money we have available.
Without that information it is obviously quite premature to purport to have a discussion with regard to the allocation of funding to employment programs or any other programs at this time. The budget debate will ensue after May 10 and that gives sufficient time -- indeed, some would argue more than sufficient time -- to debate the very issues that have been talked about in the last few moments, whether the money could have been used elsewhere. I would argue, and I am surprised the Health critic moving this motion did not suggest it, that the funds should go to the health care system if there were some savings to be effected.
But all of those decisions really more properly can only be addressed and will only be a matter of urgent public importance from and after the date of the next budget.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I suggest you have little option but to rule there is nothing today that warrants withholding the ordinary business of the House to have an emergency debate. There is nothing new, no emergency, and plenty of time to discuss this with far more information, far more details and far more analysis available upon which these decisions can be made.
Mr. Speaker: I have listened with great interest to the positions put forward by the three members representing each of the parties and I must say I have some strong feelings about this motion. However, in all honesty and fairness, having made the decision I did on the former motion based on the fact that we are engaged in the reply to the speech from the throne plus the fact, and I must refer to this, that standing order 34(c)(i) reads, "The matter proposed for discussion must relate to a genuine emergency, calling for immediate and urgent consideration". The problem I have with this, of course, is that nothing has changed from the original announcement that was made some months ago and therefore it is not immediate. I therefore rule that in my opinion the notice of motion should not be debated at this time.
Ms. Copps: I have no alternative, Mr. Speaker, but to challenge the ruling of the chair.
The House divided on the Speaker's ruling, which was sustained on the following vote:
Andrewes, Ashe, Barlow, Bernier, Birch, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Dean, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Havrot, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Mitchell;
Norton, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Robinson, Runciman, Scrivener, Shymko, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman.
Allen, Boudria, Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Charlton, Conway, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Epp, Foulds, Grande, Haggerty, Johnston, R. F., Kerrio, Laughren, Lupusella;
Mackenzie, McClellan, McKessock, Newman, Nixon, O'Neil, Peterson, Philip, Rae, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Renwick, Riddell, Ruprecht, Ruston, Samis, Swart, Sweeney, Wildman, Wrye.
Ayes 52; nays 40.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, like a dog chasing its own tail, the government's recent speech is nothing more than a rehash of old promises in a flickering of fading hope. While Ontario burns, the Premier (Mr. Davis) fiddles, fiddles with the future of thousands of unemployed Ontarians across this province by offering nothing more than a rehash of last year's wait-and-see provincial position -- wait and see what the federal government is doing; wait and see what happens to interest rates; wait and see what happens in the private sector; wait and see whether the Premier will actually stick around provincial politics long enough to bring our economy to a complete standstill.
Yes, the Premier is engaged in an insidious and untimely charade of Trivial Pursuit. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the game of Trivial Pursuit, the object is to achieve a pie. The key question, to achieve a pie in Ontario, is what Ontario politician who has never balanced a budget would actually have the nerve to present himself as a potential saviour of our country? That is right -- William Grenville Davis. But then it should not surprise us that the expansiveness of his present audacity is equalled only by his government's past record of unfulfilled promises.
Let us refer for a moment, and I am sure my friends in the NDP who were decimated back on March 19, 1981, would want to refer for a moment to the comments made by the Premier when he dissolved the Legislature on February 2, 1981, in anticipation of the realities of March 19.
His signal to close the session was, and I quote: "It is clear that a sitting of the present Legislature would be dominated by political rhetoric" -- can you imagine political rhetoric? --"and manoeuvring as the various parties elbow each other on their way to the starting line. This is exactly what Ontario does not need at this particular time. What we do need" -- and remember this is back in February 1981 -- "is a new parliament with a strong economic agenda for the next four years." That came, two years ago, from a government that has led us into a period of unprecedented high unemployment and economic stagnation.
Despite the grandiose promises of the "bilge" program, unemployment in Ontario has climbed to almost 600,000 people. Almost one in four young persons in this province does not have a job. The government's response? Consistent cutbacks over the last seven years in the amount of money set aside for summer youth employment. Funding for direct job creation in the last fiscal year totalled only $231 million, although unemployment rose from 8.7 per cent to 12.6 per cent. This when the government does not even mention in its throne speech the difficulties facing steelworkers in my own community and across the province.
What hope does the Tory promise hold for young people struggling to find a place in the Ontario job market? Our former leader predicted this bleak situation back in 1981. The smug response of the government? He was called "Dr. No," "Dr. Negative." If Stuart Smith was Ontario's "Dr. No" the Premier was the "Goldfinger" that rubbed bare to reveal nothing but fool's gold on the government side of the House. He says his slogans worked. In the short term maybe they did, but in the long term a philosopher once said, and the Premier should take note: "Propaganda is a soft weapon. Hold it in your hands long enough and it will move about like a snake and strike the other way."
Again quoting from the Premier's pre-election promises: "We seek a mandate to sustain and improve our major social programs, to continue to ensure that the education of our young, the care of our sick and the provisions for those in need are comparable to the best in the western world." Where have we heard that phrase before? Always "the best in the western world." This from a government that has the highest tax in Canada on those earning between $15,000 and $20,000, in terms of OHIP and personal provincial taxes, of any province in Canada.
"We seek a mandate to take practical and effective measures to control Ontario's environment. Nowhere in North America has more leadership been shown in efforts to control such major concerns as acid rain and liquid industrial waste." This from a government that has allowed the Niagara River to become the dioxin delta of the northern hemisphere, as well as continuing to stand by while Hamilton's Windermere basin is deemed one of the most polluted water bodies in North America.
"We seek a mandate to combat inflation through smaller and more efficient government, avoiding tax increases." This from a government whose first hysterical reaction to majority rule was to go out and purchase a $10-million jet to carry the Premier to fewer than half the airports in Ontario. This from a government that moved in immediately to lower the taxes on brandy and cigars and dining at La Scala while introducing a nickel-and-dime squeeze on every toothpaste user, woman and low-income earner in the province.
This from a government that invested $45 million in Minaki Lodge to protect its own loans. Not only does the government never expect to recover this investment, but the lodge will serve no one but the rich. This from a government that has spent nearly half a billion of taxpayers' dollars on land banking. Finally, this from a government that has invested $650 million of taxpayers' money on Suncor and has lost more than $50 million on its investment to date. This $50 million could have been used to create more than 2,000 Ontario jobs.
What is the member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman) saying to his constituents today about the free enterprise party that bought a quarter loaf of Suncor?
Again from the Premier's statement: "We seek a mandate to stimulate the growth and development of our important resource industry in all parts of the province, but particularly in northern Ontario." I know the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris) will be interested in this. This from a government that has refused to present a single program to stimulate our mining and forest industries, even though unemployment rates in these areas are almost 30 per cent and 27 per cent respectively. This from a government that has never presented a single policy, even though promised as far back as 1977, that would lead to diversification of the economy of the north and deal with the problems of one-industry towns. People have been forced to leave the north because there simply are not enough job opportunities.
Again from the Premier: "We seek a mandate to improve and enhance the cultural life of this province on a number of fronts." This from a government that followed up with a threatened 15 per cent cutback in budgeting for cultural programs and then increased budgets in communities like my own -- a paltry one per cent for the major botanical garden in the whole of Canada.
"A fair-minded and creative approach" -- "creative" I will grant -- "to Ontario's many cultural and linguistic communities can and must sustain the cultural opportunity of our province." This from a government whose respondent to the throne speech Tuesday did not even have the courage to refer to his leader's recent about-face on French language in Ontario. I guess it is all right to say it in French. C'est okay de le dire en français, mais Ernest Eves n'ose rien dire au sujet de l'école à Mattawa parce qu'il est un exemple typique de l'hypocrisie du gouvernement. The Carleton by-election lives on.
Again from the Premier: "We seek a mandate to take initiatives, not only to assist our farming community but to promote the use of Ontario farm products by our people in the greater interests of self-sufficiency." This from a government that twiddled its thumbs while 176 farmers in Ontario went bankrupt last year, the highest number in Canada. This from a government that appoints an asphalt farmer to oversee the survival of agribusiness in this most crucial time, when his main rural purpose seems to be garnering delegates for the greatest nonleadership race in Ontario's history, and has yet to introduce any single program of its own to deal with the plight of our farmers. This from a government that promised financial assistance to young farmers but then used them as whipping boys for their deficit.
"And, above all, we seek a mandate to make constant and consistent efforts to continue and expand our industrial base, create more jobs, not only through encouraging new and expanded enterprises but also through efforts to enlarge markets for the products and services developed by the working men and women of our province." This from a government that has heralded unprecedented heights in unemployment, stagflation and the destruction of the economy. This from a government that contracts its own personal celebration of the Canadian Constitution, a coin, to an American firm, even when local Ontarians could have done the job. This from a government that would purchase peaches from South Africa, even though we sit in the heart of peach country right here in southern Ontario.
How significant is the future for a steelworker in my community, with unemployment more than 45,000 and prospects for rejuvenation of heavy industry dim? Where are the alternatives for a steelworker?
"In a province with the promise of Ontario, the people we serve will not be content only with a record of past accomplishments. They want a government that could look ahead, plan ahead and assure that our future will be as significant as our past." This from a government that has as its planning source for tomorrow the Innovation Development for Employment Advancement Corp., which in two years has yet to produce any ideas.
"There is every reason to look to the future with confidence and optimism." That confidence and optimism so trumpeted by the Premier was swept away by the realities of March 19.
To quote again from that infamous speech of February 1981: "The people of Ontario have that kind of government today. We must have the courage to do better in terms of our national industrial strength, our job creation, our international competitiveness, our national battle against inflation."
Oh, where have all our promises gone? Two years later, and the only thing the government can offer in its throne speech is more empty rhetoric, more vapid verbiage, more broken promises of the variety that were trumpeted in the realities of March 19.
What of substance has sprung from the recent throne speech? A recognition of women, they might say, with the panacea of one-chauffeur authority in a government that refuses to make a public commitment to equal pay for work of equal value; a government that vetos a countrywide accord on the seven-year opt-out provision for women in their child-bearing years; a government that refuses to make a universal commitment to accessible day care and sees its own advisory council as a resting place for tired Premier's hacks.
We might say at least the government has finally recognized the need for developing new alternatives to traditional job patterns that are fast disappearing. But what is the government's reaction to the new technology? Quoting from the throne speech: "My government intends to undertake an intensive, extensive and serious study of these projected developments." The Premier studies while Ontario burns.
This throne speech is a disappointment to the farmer who is looking to Ontario for leadership, while the government is spending a smaller percentage of the provincial budget on agriculture than does any other province in Canada.
This throne speech is a disappointment to the steelworker who cannot find a job at the same time as the Ontario Manpower Commission has predicted a shortage of 45,000 skilled workers within three years.
This throne speech is a disappointment to tenants and landlords alike. Our rental housing stimulation program could increase vacancy rates and provide up to 26,000 jobs in the construction and related fields, but the throne speech thought the issue was important enough to accord it two paragraphs.
This throne speech is a disappointment to working people, those who have jobs and those who have lost them through industrial accidents. What happened to the major reforms promised in the changes to the Workers' Compensation Act? Has the fair deal of the last election campaign become the foul-weather friend of labour? Do not force workers to their knees, to begging on the front steps of the Legislature when this government has the means to bring about major and equitable social reform. Do not set up another bureaucracy. Do not set up another level of bureaucracy in the Workers' Compensation Board. Offer a fair deal to workers who have given up their right to litigate in return for income security during compensable illness.
This throne speech is a major disappointment to all members of the social development committee and those across the province who have been victims of perpetrators of spousal assault. An all-party committee thought enough of the problem to issue a unanimous report recommending major funding changes to help transition houses survive, yet this government has chosen to ignore the whole issue in the throne speech.
The speech is a major disappointment for those who are very concerned about creeping privatization in Ontarios health care system and the state of health care in Ontario as a whole. I am sure the Minister of Health is well aware of my comments in the past on creeping privatization. Since he seems to have people at every meeting copying down words of people who say things in private, he will no doubt be aware that I have been very concerned and my party has been concerned for a number of months about the creeping privatization that we see affecting the system.
AMI (Canada) Ltd. is the thin edge of the wedge. Extendicare buying out a potential chronic care wing of an acute care hospital is the thin edge of the wedge. An increase in OHIP premiums is the thin edge of the wedge. A study undertaken by this government into user fees is the thin edge of the wedge.
The Treasurer suggests OHIP fees will be increased for the third time in four budgets and repeats publicly that he would like to see user fees introduced to help cover health care costs. I am sure the Minister of Health is aware of the position of his Treasurer on user fees, and yet this speech mentioned nothing about health care.
This speech is a major disappointment to those who look to the government for leadership. The so-called sound management lauded in the speech is typified in the bloated budget and borrowing of Ontario Hydro. With almost 50 per cent more generating capacity than it needs to serve Ontario, Hydro justified its overproduction by expensive advertising campaigns to convince consumers that bloated is better.
What leadership has this government shown with the restraint package and the noninclusion of doctors? What leadership has this government shown with respect to the tragic deaths at the Hospital for Sick Children? The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has placed all of us on a dizzy merry-go-round of innuendo, rumour and delay that makes a mockery of whatever justice may ever be brought to bear in this painful situation.
This speech was a painful vacuum for those families with children in the six treatment centres for the developmentally handicapped across Ontario. The government, in typical fashion if we refer back to the whole problem of mental health deinstitutionalization, has moved ahead to close first, plan later, even though living memories of the mistakes of the mental health system make front-page headlines with regularity in communities across this province.
Where other jurisdictions lead, we follow. But government by Gallup is catching up.
J. E. Chamberlain said: "I would like to live in a nation in which I would never be unconscious of the struggle of its stubborn nobodies, and in which the ideal excitements of mind and spirit would be implicated in the realities of its circumstances."
This government has long since abandoned the forgotten nobodies. This government has long since traded in excitement of mind and spirit for the banal certainty of tracking opinion polls. Let us dare to challenge our people -- challenge them with a $1-million construction program that will bring 15,000 units into the market; challenge them with skills training integrated into the final years of secondary school.
In this fast-changing world, skills obtained in the past can quickly become obsolescent or unmarketable. The government should move to provide extensive skills retraining and updating programs so as to ensure that individuals do not find themselves without a marketable skill and that our economy does not stagnate as a result of a mismatch between the skills we have and the skills we need. Such a program will necessarily involve government and business support and must be designed so that any individual may be self-supporting during the retraining period. Challenge them with opportunities so that small business people and farmers, the backbone of our economy, will not have that backbone crushed.
I happen to have a brother -- he is here in the audience today -- who is in the job market himself and who, like many young people, faces disappointments and disillusionment. Let us not disillusion the young people of this province. Let us not send them to other provinces, to other countries. Let us challenge them so that we can provide a tremendous future in this province.
A joint government-business task force to examine the potential for the private sector to provide a wide range of products and services now provided by the government would be a start. As opposed to the government's present ad hoc, Band-Aid approaches to the agricultural industry, there must be a dedication and commitment to ensure a sense of security for the future. There is urgent need for the implementation of a strategy for agriculture within which farmers are able to make long-term farming decisions.
For the young and starting farmer, there must be a long-term financing program. The young farmer of Ontario has even more difficulty competing, since every other province in Canada has a better long-term agricultural program for young farmers. Challenge them with a health system where prevention, not treatment, is the primary objective. Challenge them with a social system that stimulates personal initiative without destroying the safety net so vital to a humane society.
Challenge them with job opportunities. The single most pressing issue by far, which the upcoming budget must deal with, is the unemployment crisis in Ontario and the need for job creation initiatives. The bulk of job creation in the province must come from the private sector, and the government must do everything it can to provide a favourable climate for this sector. But when shortfalls occur, as they have on a massive scale in the past few years, direct action by the government is required.
Cutbacks in spending on youth employment at this time are entirely unconscionable. This government is already spending 23 per cent less on aid for unemployed youth than it did two years ago, and it is cutting back programs while unemployment rises. The young people of Ontario do not deserve to be treated so callously. We must challenge our youth with programs that will give them jobs.
We must provide our young people with hope, not despair. We must offer our farmers solutions, not bankruptcies. We must offer our workers jobs, not promises. We must offer a government of leadership, not hollow promises and unfulfilled dreams. For, in the words of Arthur Meighen: "Loyalty to the ballot box is not necessarily loyalty to the nation; it is not even loyalty to the multitude. Democracy has failed and fallen in many lands, and political captains in Canada must have courage to lead rather than servility to follow, if our institutions are going to survive."
The Deputy Speaker: Ms. Copps moves, seconded by Mr. Nixon, that the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session be amended by the addition of the following words:
"This House, however, regrets that the speech from the throne fails to address the most serious problems facing Ontario today, reflecting a total lack of government initiative, leadership and policy necessary to resolve these concerns, namely, the continuing unemployment crisis, particularly among this province's youth; the pressing need for a definitive industrial strategy, particularly the need for massive training and retraining programs; the urgent need for affordable housing in this province; the preservation of Ontario's health, social and educational sectors, and particularly support for hospitals, day care, services for the elderly and post-secondary institutions; the continuing problems facing farmers during these recessionary times. Therefore, this House declares its lack of confidence in the government."
On motion by Mr. Laughren, the debate was adjourned.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, there will not be a statement of business this afternoon, but it will come tomorrow. Tomorrow we will be on interim supply.
The House adjourned at 4:54 p.m.