The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I think it is most important that the members of this chamber recognize the deeds of young Ontarians, particularly when those deeds are slightly different from the norm and when those deeds will bring benefits to the people of this province.
I am referring to the pending marriage of Mr. Gary McGuffen of London, Ontario, to Joan Wood, a young lady from Bracebridge. That of itself is noteworthy; I am sure all of us would wish them every success.
But beyond that, these two young people are taking a two-year honeymoon, travelling the route of our early explorers here in Canada from the Gulf of St. Lawrence up to the Arctic Ocean. During that time they will be noting their adventures and recording them for our students here in Ontario and for the Ministry of Education through a slide presentation they will be making along the way. I want to bring this to the attention of the chamber and I am sure the members present will wish, as I do, every success to these two wonderful young Ontarians.
DEATH OF HARRY BRAY
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the House would want me, on its behalf, to pay tribute to a former vice-chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission, Harry Bray, who has served this province well and who passed away yesterday. Harry Bray's contribution is recognized by many. His role in terms of the financial industry of this province and the preservation of its integrity and of the public interest is well understood. Indeed, many would look on him as the Elliot Ness of this province. It is with great sadness that I express regret at his passing.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I would like to join, as I know my colleagues would who knew Harry Bray, in expressing our immense regret at the suddenness of his death. Over the years, I had occasion to have been associated with Mr. Bray. I did not always agree with him but he brought an unfailing courtesy to the work of the commission. He had served this province on the commission for something over 30 years. He was Mr. Securities as far as Ontario was concerned. The knowledge, skill and ability which is reflected in the Securities Act is a monument to his passing.
The remarks which he made at the end of December, when he attended the last meeting of the Ontario Securities Commission in his capacity as vice-chairman, are ones which should on an appropriate occasion be noted. He contributed to the integrity of the securities markets in this province in a way that this province must be indebted to him for his contribution. On behalf of my colleagues and others in the assembly who knew him, I would like to extend our condolences to his widow and to his children.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I would rise to add a personal contribution on the passing of a most distinguished constituent of my riding, as well as a most distinguished public servant of this province, with whom I had the honour to serve both as a parliamentary assistant in the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations while many of the present statutes were being drafted and again as the minister when that particular legislation and many of the administrative practices were finalized.
Mr. Bray exemplified all that has made the public service of Ontario the finest in the world. He had an enormous zest for work, in a field that is infinitely complex, infinitely challenging and where the calibre of the man and his character are virtually always under test. It is true that from time to time there were allegations that Mr. Bray was too firm, too dedicated, but if Mr. Bray had any failing it was that he was too honest, and I do not think that is a failing.
At the same time, he was a very practical, realistic and very progressive public servant. As the former minister and as his member of the Legislature for many years, I would extend to his widow not only the usual condolences but also the fact that this assembly does recognize the tremendous contribution he made to the people, the investors and the business of this province.
FLOOD PLAIN MAPPING
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: In answer to questions put by the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) and myself on Tuesday, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) said, "The honourable member knows that the flood plain policy is one of the policies that will be applied under the Planning Act. He is aware that as a provincial policy that will take effect under the Planning Act."
I just want to say that in that statement the minister has misled the House, perhaps inadvertently from lack of knowledge. The facts are the flood plain mapping is applied independently of the Planning Act unless a council takes initiative on its own --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
OUTLOOK AGRICULTURAL CONFERENCE
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I am sure you will agree that as elected members to this assembly we all share the responsibility of how the taxpayers' money is spent. I learned that the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) held an outlook agricultural conference on Monday at taxpayers' expense. He did not extend an invitation to the agricultural critics of the opposition parties.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Riddell: He is obligated to do so and I think he is a small, narrow-minded man for not doing that. He aspires to become leader of this province and he ignores the important opposition.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Surely with the number of times we have spoken about identifying points of order and points of privilege, you must understand there is nothing out of order.
DIGITAL CLOCK IN CHAMBER
Mr. Speaker: Now that we are quite through with this informal period of whatever --
Mr. Sargent: Do it over again.
Mr. Speaker: No, please don't. I would like to point out, as I am sure all members have noticed, that the new timing device is now in place. I am not going to attempt to outline all its functions, but I am sure we are going to find it very useful and I am sure it will become familiar to all members as time goes on.
For today, I just want to point out that when question period starts, 60 minutes will show on the two display panels and will count down to zero, when they will flash for several seconds before returning to the time.
In the throne speech debate, when a member starts to speak the panels will indicate how much time the party has had in the debate following the leadoff speakers and will count upwards, adding the time as he or she speaks.
I am sure you all understand that and I am sure we are going to have complete co-operation.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Is it planned to ring a bell after a minute of the Premier's responses or nonresponses to questions?
Mr. Speaker: I think you should ask that during the proper time in oral questions.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Dealing with the comments you have just made with regard to the timing device, I wonder, as you contemplate the use of the new timing device, if in the spirit of equity and fair play you would consider permitting a question to be answered after it is put, even as we approach the 60-minute mark.
It would sometimes appear we are endeavouring to run this place like the German railway in terms of time. In fairness to all members who would like to ask questions and obtain answers, we might have those questions entertained even as we hit the conclusion of the 60-minute mark.
Mr. Speaker: I think I have attempted to use some discretion in that regard.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I refer you to the Globe and Mail of today, Thursday, April 28, 1983. You will be aware that the Premier's (Mr. Davis) birthday is July 30 of this year -- and every year as far as that goes. I refer you to this because for Leo, July 23 to August -- 22 and I want you to listen to this, Mr. Speaker -- it states: "The field is clear for you to gain a leadership post. Keep your emotions under control. The less you say now the better. A romantic" --
Mr. Nixon: Now listen. Here's the big thing.
Mr. Peterson: "A romantic entanglement is sapping your energy."
Mr. Speaker: That is very interesting indeed, and I am sure the Premier will pay heed.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
DEATHS AT HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the honourable members an update on the investigation into the tragic death of a six-and-a-half-month-old baby who died Saturday in the cardiac ward at the Hospital for Sick Children.
The infant, Gary Murphy of Kitchener, who had a severe congenital deformity of the heart, had been in hospital for more than three weeks. At about 6:20 p.m. last Saturday the baby went into cardiac arrest and efforts by the medical staff to revive him failed. Gary was pronounced dead at 6:37 p.m.
The first blood sample was taken from the heart three minutes after the baby was declared dead and a preliminary test indicated elevated levels of digoxin. A second test done three hours later substantiated the first. Dr. Murray Naiberg, the investigating coroner, informed the parents that elevated levels of digoxin had been found in the baby's blood and that an autopsy would be performed. An autopsy was performed at the hospital at 3 a.m. Sunday by Dr. Charles Smith. All of the levels obtained in the post mortem were above the normal level.
At 5 a.m., after consultation with Chief Coroner Dr. Ross Bennett, it was decided to call in the Metropolitan Toronto police to assist in the investigation. On Sunday morning Dr. Naiberg and doctors from the hospital met with the family and explained that further testing confirmed the high levels of digoxin and that further investigation was under way.
A team of scientists at the Centre of Forensic Sciences is still conducting tests at this time. Some 50 items, including tissues and materials from the room in which the child died, must be tested. Members can appreciate that this is meticulous and time-consuming work. To date, 15 tests have been completed. I am advised by the forensic staff that tests will not be completed until the end of next week.
My office has been in contact with Chief Jack Ackroyd and he has said that, contrary to reports, he cannot indicate that this death is a homicide. It continues to be investigated to determine the cause of death.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to share with the House as much information as I can about the death of Gary Murphy in the cardiac ward of the Hospital for Sick Children.
First, however, I wish to remind all honourable members that we have three considerations at this time. The first, clearly, is to find out why the Murphy child died, the second is to see whether anyone deliberately or inadvertently contributed to that death and the third is to scrutinize the procedures in the hospital to ensure that they meet all reasonable standards for the care and safety of patients.
The first two issues are, as my colleague has stated, within the purview of the criminal justice system and are being vigorously pursued by the coroner, the police and the forensic scientists.
The third matter is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health and the subject of this report to the House. In presenting it I must ask all members of the House, the media and the public to avoid leaping to conclusions based on evidence so far available to reflect unfairly on anyone at the hospital or undermine public confidence in the Hospital for Sick Children. That would only compound the tragedy.
I say this recognizing the terrible impact of these events on the parents and families, on physicians, nurses and staff of the hospital and on the community, which certainly cannot he allowed to lose faith in the Hospital for Sick Children. As the committee under Mr. Justice Dubin observed, "It is truly one of our indispensable institutions;" and that, "It is still deserving of the complete confidence of the public."
In considering what has just taken place, I ask members also to reflect on the observations of what has come to he called the Atlanta study, which was carried out by the staff from the Centers for Disease Control in the United States and by members of my ministry staff. In the recommendations I tabled in the House on February 21, they observed:
"For the future, it is important to recognize that no hospital is immune to the possibility of intentional harm to patients by hospital employees or others in the hospital. Situations of the sort have occurred before and may well occur again. Although absolute prevention of all possibilities for such actions would not permit hospitals to function, steps can he taken to discourage their occurrence. In the light of the current Toronto hospital experience we" -- that is, the CDC -- "would make two general recommendations, one concerning management of medications in the hospital, the other concerning the use of ongoing surveillance mechanisms to give an early warning if an abnormal mortality pattern is developing."
The safeguards they recommended varied only slightly in process from those recommended by Mr. Justice Dubin and his colleagues, and they were in place in the hospital when this most unfortunate death occurred.
As a result of procedures and controls introduced in the cardiac wards following the discovery of the epidemic in March 1981, mandatory tests of digoxin levels were begun immediately following the death of the Murphy baby last Saturday night. The first results showed elevated levels of digoxin and these, as my colleague has indicated, were immediately reported to the coroner, who triggered the police investigation that has been referred to.
Since then my staff and I have met the senior trustees and officers of the hospital and we have reviewed all of the circumstances known to them and the procedures in the cardiac ward that might have a bearing on this tragedy.
Members are aware that the hospital board, management and staff welcomed the recommendations of the Dubin and Atlanta inquiries and have been moving towards their full implementation with great dispatch, particularly with those that affect patient care and safety.
On the basis of the information available to us at this time we are satisfied that the hospital has been faithful to its commitment to comply with the Dubin and Atlanta recommendations and that the procedures of the hospital do not appear at fault. As members know, the hospital has provided me with periodic detailed reports on the implementation of each of the review committee recommendations and it is doing a conscientious job.
Despite this, we must recognize realistically that the death that is now under investigation is bound to create apprehension and adds what I fear are increasingly intolerable burdens on the staff and administration of the hospital. As Mr. Justice Dubin noted:
"Those providing professional services at the hospital have found it difficult to practise their profession under such circumstances and the morale is strained. It is to their credit that their professionalism and skill and their work does not appear to have suffered to date even under such stress. Their ability to do so in the future will, we think, depend very much on the degree of support that the hospital receives from the public."
From my meetings these past two days I am certainly very aware of the toll these events are taking on the administration of the hospital. These are fine and dedicated people who are doing everything possible to ensure the necessary standard of excellence that is so much a part of this hospital.
From the time they originally became aware of this problem in the cardiac wards they adopted a whole range of new procedures to reinforce patient care and safety. They have welcomed outside advice from all quarters and they believe they have taken every reasonable step to protect their patients.
Let me give some illustrations. A unit dose system for digoxin has been instituted in the cardiac wards. The nursing staff there has been reorganized and expanded with the appointment of a new head nurse and two highly trained clinical instructors. They have spent $100,000 on new patient monitoring equipment for a new intermediate care unit in the cardiac ward. The medical staff has been reinforced with two staff cardiologists, assigned as ward chiefs, instead of one. A second senior fellow has been assigned to the unit. Residents with more experience are now being used there and staff cardiologists are carrying out evening rounds in addition to the regular daily rounds of the past.
In these circumstances, which have been in place for some time now, this most recent death has been devastating for them and they have asked me to see whether there is anyone who can suggest what other steps they might or could take. We are now in the process of appointing one or more persons with a high level of hospital and medical experience to bring a new, detached perspective to the procedures and operations in place or planned at the Hospital for Sick Children.
At the request of the hospital, we will mandate that person or persons to review the current procedures in the hospital and to review the implementation of changes needed to reinforce once again the capacity for patient care and safety by working with the board, administration and staff. In the meantime, the hospital has implemented a number of very specific physical and medical security procedures in the cardiac wards and these will continue in place.
I am sorry I cannot share the terms of reference and timetable with the House because these will depend to some extent on who we are able to appoint. In spite of what has happened and the events in the cardiac ward, it is important to keep sight of the fact that hundreds of children continue to be treated and restored to health every day in the Hospital for Sick Children. It is, to repeat Mr. Justice Dubin, an indispensable part of our health care system and deserves public confidence.
I have confidence in that hospital. I am sure most honourable members share that confidence and I know it is shared by the hundreds of families who daily place their trust in the skill, dedication and care which have always been the cornerstones of the Hospital for Sick Children.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, prior to my statement but clearly related to it, I would like to introduce to you and ask members to join me in welcoming to Ontario three distinguished guests who are seated in your gallery this afternoon: the Honourable Henry Williams, Commissioner of Environmental Conservation for the state of New York; Mr. Anthony Taverni, acid rain co-ordinator for the state of New York, and Mr. John Spagnoli, regional director of the Department of Environmental Conservation in the state of New York.
Mr. Kerrio: Are they going to help the minister clean up his act?
Hon. Mr. Norton: They are very co-operative people.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, later today the Minister of Environmental -- Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) --
An hon. member: Only on Malvern.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Since he has done such a fine job on Malvern, I thought I would give him credit. I am sure he would be quite willing to leave that responsibility with me.
The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and I will be meeting with Mr. Henry Williams, Commissioner of Environmental Conservation for New York state. Our purpose in meeting is to sign a memorandum of understanding between the province of Ontario and the state of New York on a co-operative program to combat the present and future effects of transboundary air pollution and, in particular, acid rain.
Both Ontario and New York state have common interests in the battle against acid precipitation. Many of their recreational lakes, like ours, have been seriously affected by the long-range transport of atmospheric pollutants. Our mutual concern is to apply the best possible science to study this very serious global phenomenon and to ensure that effective action is taken to eliminate its effects on our waters.
The memorandum will lead to standardization of methods and procedures used in sampling and laboratory analysis, the free exchange of scientific information and the opportunity for joint scientific research. Also, it will eliminate duplication of cost and effort for both jurisdictions and increase our mutual effectiveness.
Perhaps of equal importance is the fact that one of the most powerful and influential states in the union recognizes with us the seriousness of acid precipitation and is willing to co-operate with a foreign jurisdiction on this problem. Ontario has gained an important ally, in my opinion, in its struggle against acid rain.
I am confident that the memorandum will be noted and carefully considered by the US federal authorities in Washington and by various other American states which so far have shown less concern and sympathy for the need to reduce emissions that cause this problem. It will contribute to the increase and awareness of acid precipitation as a serious pollution problem throughout the United States and Canada and thereby lend more weight, I believe, to our argument for increased control of emissions by federal US authorities.
I have met and talked with a number of state legislators and officials throughout the United States, and it is my hope that this Ontario-New York agreement will be one of a series of others to follow.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the statement is missing a page. Did I miss the page where the minister invited the two opposition critics to be present at this meeting?
Hon. Mr. Norton: No, Mr. Speaker. I invite the honourable member to be present, it he so wishes, for the signing of the agreement, which will be occurring at the conclusion of question period.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It's good news. You don't want to be there, Jim.
Mr. Kerrio: You've got them this far. We are willing to help you, you know.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Kerrio: It is in order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: No.
DEVELOPMENTALLY HANDICAPPED PEOPLE
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House of the progress by my ministry on the five-year plan for the expansion of community services and the consolidation of facilities for developmentally handicapped people in this province.
As I stated on October 28, when I announced the details of the plan, the first phase involves the closing of the St. Lawrence Regional Centre in Brockville. I am delighted to report that this phase is almost complete and we are extremely pleased with what has been accomplished to date.
When the institution closes, 74 of the 100 residents will be living in group homes and family homes in the community, and another six residents will be ready to move back to the community within two to three years, after they receive the additional training they require.
This means our earlier prediction regarding the number of residents who would be capable of community living was overcautious. The great majority will now enjoy a fuller life outside an institution. This shows what can be achieved when carefully planned community alternatives are provided.
I might add that the average age of these residents is 36. There are no children at this institution and, if our program of providing these community alternatives were not in effect, they would probably have spent the remainder of their lives in institutions.
The success of the first phase of the implementation of our five-year plan, combined with the successes my ministry achieved during the first seven years of its program of providing community alternatives to institutional living for developmentally handicapped people, reaffirms the wisdom and humanity of this policy direction.
As the Premier (Mr. Davis) indicated last week, there will be no moratorium on the five-year plan. To delay the plan would be to deny residents their right to live with dignity and a sense of self-worth in a setting that is most appropriate to their needs and abilities. It would simply deny them the opportunity for a fuller and more satisfying life.
I should point out that the Premier is one of the pioneers of community-based living for developmentally handicapped people. In addition to his personal conviction that at all times they should be afforded the greatest possible degree of participation in life, it was his commitment on May 16, 1974, to the annual conference of the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded in Peterborough that provided the long-term policy direction and financial resources for our program of community-based services.
It is because of the excellent co-operation my ministry has received from parents, from the local association for the mentally retarded and from the dedicated and committed staff at St. Lawrence Regional Centre that the first phase of our five-year plan has progressed so well in such a short period of time.
I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman) towards the successful implementation of this first phase. He has been of great assistance to me, my staff, the residents, their parents and the community at large.
Individual plans have been formulated for all 100 residents at the St. Lawrence Regional Centre. Already, 55 residents have been placed in new settings as follows:
Eleven are now living in existing community residences in Cornwall, Bancroft, Kemptville, Seeley's Bay, Alexandria and Rockland.
Nine are in new community group homes in Mallorytown and Oxford Mills.
Nine are living with families in family home programs in Prescott, Perth, Portland and Vankleek Hill.
Twelve are at Rideau Regional Centre because of the francophone program there and their medical needs.
Three have been relocated in their home communities, at Oaklands in Oakville, Prince Edward Heights in Picton and Muskoka Centre in Gravenhurst.
Six are at the Adult Occupation Centre in Edgar, where they will receive the additional training they need for community placement.
One is at the Ongwanada facility in Kingston.
One, who requires a specialized program, is at Southwestern Regional Centre in Cedar Springs.
Three who require short-term psychiatric care are at Brockville Psychiatric Hospital.
Forty-one residents have been assigned places and will move over the course of the next several weeks.
Thirty-one residents will he accommodated in community group homes operated by the Brockville, North Grenville, Lanark, Almonte, Kingston and Dundas associations for the mentally retarded. My ministry is working closely with these associations to carry out these placements.
Eight will be in new community group homes developed by my ministry in Oxford Mills and Mallorytown.
Two will go to family home settings in Perth and Prescott.
Places are now being developed for the last four residents in the Brockville area.
I am also pleased to report that of the 77 civil servants at the St. Lawrence Regional Centre, 50, who were individually interviewed, have accepted new positions with my ministry. Another seven are negotiating for positions with the Ministry of Health at Brockville Psychiatric Hospital.
Forty-one of the staff who have accepted new jobs with my ministry are going to the Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls, five are going to Prince Edward Heights in Picton, three to other facilities and one to the ministry's regional office.
Most of the remaining 20 civil servants are waiting for openings in community services units or in other community operations being developed in the Brockville area.
In keeping with my commitment that no resident will move from any institution until a properly supervised residential setting is ready, I have instructed that the necessary complement of staff remain at the St. Lawrence centre unti1 June 30, when the carefully planned relocation of every resident will he complete.
As I announced in October, rather than operating all 17 institutions at 62 per cent capacity, my ministry is consolidating its facility services. Bluewater Centre in Goderich is the second phase of this program.
I told the parents of residents at the Bluewater Centre that we would not proceed to the second phase of our program until I was satisfied with the progress in Brockville. In the light of our success there, we will be developing closure plans for Bluewater in the very near future.
Between now and the spring of 1986, my ministry will also be closing the St. Thomas Adult Rehabilitation and Training Centre, Pine Ridge in Aurora, D'Arcy Place in Cobourg and Durham Centre in Whitby. The number of residents at Oxford Regional Centre in Woodstock will be reduced from 657 to 484.
The closures will be implemented over a five-year period to ensure a gradual and orderly progression of residents to the community. This will also allow more than ample time for ministry staff to consult fully with parents and guardians of each resident to be moved, with the staff at the institutions to be closed and with the local associations for the mentally retarded which are working with us to carry out this plan. This time frame will ensure that no decision is made in haste or on an ad hoc basis.
As I have already stressed, no resident of any institution for the developmentally handicapped will move to the community without a properly supervised residential setting and, where applicable, a work, training or activity program. Furthermore, the parents of every resident will be individually consulted before any decision regarding relocation or community placement is made. As I have also emphasized, every civil servant in the six institutions to be closed will be given preference for jobs in the remaining facilities or in other areas within the public service where they may qualify. Some may elect, however, to obtain employment on their own in new community-based alternatives.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services has been providing community alternatives to institutional living for developmentally handicapped people since 1975. During the first seven years of the program, the ministry increased its budget for community services for developmentally handicapped people from $10 million in 1975 to $118 million in 1982. Between 1975 and 1982 the ministry also created 2,800 new community living places for developmentally handicapped children and adults and more than doubled the capacity of the workshop and employment training system to 7,600 places from 3,600 places. The development of these and other resources allowed some 3,800 residents of institutions for the developmentally handicapped in Ontario to move back to the community, and it reduced the overall population of these institutions by 1,400.
The number of residents at Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls was reduced to 1,000 from 1,500, the population of Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia was cut to 967 from 1,500 and the population of Southwestern Regional Centre in Cedar Springs was pared to 654 from 894.
The success the ministry had between 1975 and 1982 with its program of promoting community living for developmentally handicapped people led us to plan an expansion of these services over the next five years. As members will recall, the five-year plan calls for the establishment of a network of new community-based services to be used by hundreds of developmentally handicapped people already living in the community and about 1,000 residents of the ministry's 17 institutions who will be moving to the community during the next five years.
The specifies of this plan are worth repeating in view of the questions raised in the past six months in this House and by members of the public. As I announced in October, we are now creating 750 new supervised community living places, 1,000 new spaces in the family support program, 244 new group home places, 1,381 new training and employment places for higher-functioning adults, 500 new training and employment places for lower-functioning adults, 200 new beds for severely handicapped children and 250 new places for severely handicapped adults.
The transfer of residents from our 17 institutions for the developmentally handicapped back to the community will reduce the number of beds needed in these institutions by another 989. Of the $33.7 million in 1982 dollars that my ministry will spend to expand community services for the developmentally handicapped during the next five years, $23.7 million will come from the closing of these institutions.
During the past six months, my ministry has written to every employee in the six institutions to be closed, to the parents or guardians of all residents and to the local associations for the mentally retarded, outlining the major elements of the five-year plan. Senior staff of my ministry have also attended numerous meetings and met privately on many occasions with parents, staff, union representatives, municipal officials and members of the Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded, the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded and their local affiliates to discuss details of the plan. This communication will continue throughout the implementation of the closures.
I might add here that both the Canadian and the Ontario associations for the mentally retarded have endorsed my ministry's plan to expand community-based services for the developmentally handicapped. Many local associations for the mentally retarded have also expressed support for the plan and have offered to work with us to develop these local services.
As a result of these meetings and individual consultations, which will continue as specific plans for each institution and each resident are made, many parents who initially expressed concern about the five-year plan now actively support it.
I reiterate that we are delighted with the progress to date in the implementation of our five-year plan for expanding community living opportunities for the developmentally handicapped residents of this province. We are convinced that as support for this policy direction continues to grow within the community at large and among those directly affected by it, we not only will have many more success stories to relate but also will have provided a richer life for hundreds of developmentally handicapped people.
NORCEN ENERGY RESOURCES LTD.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I have a letter from the chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission, dated April 26, 1983, which I would like to table in the Legislature.
This letter concerns the OSC's handling of the Norcen Energy Resources Ltd. investigation and was prepared by the chairman with the direct involvement of the seven other members of the commission who participated in the review of the commission staff report concerning the investigation. The letter addresses a number of issues.
However, at the outset I would like to make it clear that in making certain of the statements in the letter the commission is departing from its normal practice concerning confidential investigations. It is apparent from the letter that the commission feels that in this case the departure is required to correct some fundamental misunderstandings of commission procedures.
The commission advises that it will not release the staff investigation report, but the letter does contain a succinct statement of reasons for the commission's conclusions upon the review of that staff investigation. The commission has also hesitated to provide reasons for its conclusions, because it has been concerned about prejudicing the ongoing police investigation.
However, the commission has assumed that the Attorney General's opinion is that the police investigation will not be prejudiced by a statement on the basis of the Attorney General's comments to the effect that it would be in the public interest and in the interest of the commission for the commission to make a statement.
I would like to read excerpts from the commission's letter to me.
"Upon reviewing the evidence set out in the staff report, the commission inferred that senior officers of Norcen, on behalf of Norcen, pursued the establishment of a possible relationship with Hanna over an extended period of time from January 1979 to July 1982.
"In the course of this pursuit, the officers had under active consideration a number of fundamentally different alternative courses of action, including: (1) making limited open-market purchases to provide a basis for negotiation or to accumulate securities to be disposed of; (2) making a public tender offer to acquire 20 per cent of the outstanding Hanna shares; (3) making a public tender offer to purchase 51 per cent of the outstanding Hanna shares; and (4) negotiating an agreement with Hanna similar to the agreement announced July 7, 1982.
"In the commission's view, there was not a 'material change' in the affairs of Norcen or a 'material fact' in relation to securities of Norcen within the meaning of the Securities Act until the board of directors of Norcen or the senior officers, in the belief that their decision would be confirmed by the board of directors, decided to implement a specific course of action.
"In reaching its conclusion, the commission was particularly mindful of one of the basic principles of the Securities Act, and that is to require disclosure of material changes upon their occurrence -- no sooner, no later.
"The commission has administered its laws so as to counsel equally strongly against premature disclosure as against late disclosure. Late disclosure, of course, results in uninformed trading in the market. Premature disclosure can be equally destabilizing and can create confusion and result in expensive and disappointed investment expectations on the part of the investing public."
The commission, in that letter, also addresses the importance of the confidentiality of its investigations in the following words:
"Confidentiality is essential in order to facilitate the investigation and in order to avoid either prejudicing a person's rights to fair process in the event that findings of the investigation justify proceedings or damaging a person's reputation when the results of the investigation do not support further proceedings. The effective functioning of the commission depends heavily upon the reliance which parties affected by its operations can place upon the confidentiality of the commission's administrative proceedings."
On the issue of why I, as Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, must consent to a prosecution under the Securities Act, the commission states:
"We are strongly of the view that the confidence that the financial community has in the commission would be eroded in a fundamental way if one of the basic tools for administering the act, the decision to initiate prosecutions under the act, was removed from the commission or shared with another agency."
The House may recall the report of the Attorney General's committee on securities legislation in Ontario, more commonly known as the Kimber report, after its chairman, which noted the shift in securities regulation from the time it was first introduced and was primarily directed to the prevention of fraud in the sale of securities to the position today where securities legislation is directed both at criminal and quasi-criminal law enforcement and at the enhancement of the position of the securities industry and the economic life of the province. An extract from the Kimber report is quoted in the letter.
Finally, the letter addresses the issue of the chairman's participation in the commission's review of the report of its investigators and spells out in some detail the steps he took to carry out what he believed to be the responsible course of action, which was to discharge his responsibilities as chairman if legally and practically possible.
In this connection, the letter has attached to it a letter from the seven commissioners, other than the chairman, who participated in the review of the investigation report, stating that they urged the chairman to participate in the matter because of the importance of the issues raised and emphasizing the exemplary manner in which the chairman conducted the discussion.
There are four schedules to the letter. The first schedule is a letter from the chairman, dated April 12, 1983, describing the commission's response to the Attorney General's request of me to have the commission reconsider its conclusion on the matter. The second schedule is a letter, dated April 14, 1983, from the chairman to me, concerning possible perceptions of a conflict of interest. The third schedule is a letter, also dated April 14, 1983, from the seven other commissioners which I described above. The fourth schedule is a legal opinion which the chairman obtained prior to involving himself in the matter.
I commend this material to those members of the Legislature who have been raising questions about the commission's handling of this matter and to other interested members of the Legislature. I point out, for the interested members, that the chairman. Mr. Peter Dey, is sitting in the Speaker's gallery today.
GOVERNMENT AND THE ARTS
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, today I want to inform members of the House of an important ministry initiative that may well have a significant impact on the form and direction of the relationship of the arts and government in the next decade.
Today I wish to announce the formation, under the authority of the ministry act, of a special committee to study the relationship of government and the arts in our province. The need for such a committee quite simply is that culture and the arts in our province have enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth both in quantity and in quality over the past two decades. Much of this growth has been fuelled by the funding policies of this government and in particular of my ministry.
In 1963, the province undertook a review of the relationship between the arts and government. One of the recommendations of that review was the formation of the Ontario Arts Council. In 1963, the Ontario Arts Council had a budget of $300,000, and the government's total funding of the arts was less than $350,000 that year.
Ten years later, in 1973, a further review was carried out which resulted in the Guidelines for Cultural Policy Development being approved by cabinet. Government support for the arts had then grown to $33 million per year.
In the fiscal year just ended, this government has allocated $89 million to the arts through my ministry. Since the ministry was created in 1975, this government has allocated more than $715 million to the cultural activities and facilities supported by this ministry. It would be difficult to point to another area of Ontario society that has enjoyed such explosive growth and so continuous a commitment of government support.
To maintain in the next decade the accelerating patterns of growth charted in the past two decades could place demands on the taxpayers of this province which may exceed their capacity or their desire to fill. Thus, I think it is entirely appropriate that at the beginning of a significant new decade for the arts, this government assess the directions and policies that will shape its commitment to the arts.
The special committee has the single objective of setting goals for the development of the arts in Ontario. Specifically, I have asked it to make recommendations concerning:
I. Appropriate areas for government involvement in the development of the arts in the 1980s;
2. The relationship between the ministry and its agencies and the appropriate roles for each in the development of the arts;
3. The role of the province in arts development compared to other political jurisdictions;
4. The most appropriate development and use of arts facilities;
5. The appropriate balance between government support, self-generated income and corporate and other private sponsorship; and
6. Methods of fostering greater self-sufficiency among arts organizations.
We may from time to time add other questions that are of relevance to the ministry and to the committee's work.
Committee members have been chosen for the independence of their opinions and the range of their experience. All share a considerable understanding of the arts and culture in Ontario. To facilitate both the speed and the effectiveness of the committee's work, it will consist of only three members and will keep its inquiries as informal and open as possible.
The committee will hold public hearings with artists and arts organizations across the province and then prepare a draft report for distribution to the arts community for comment. Following an open conference to guarantee the broadest possible input of public opinion, the committee will prepare its report and final recommendations. I have asked that this report be completed within the next nine months.
In closing, the committee will be chaired by Mr. Robert Macaulay, QC. Its members are Mr. Peter Day and Mrs. Geraldine Sherman. Secretary to the committee will be Mr. J. Douglas McCullough, assistant deputy minister of my ministry.
The formation of the special committee is another step in the orderly growth of the arts in Ontario. I am confident that with the assistance of the entire arts community. Ontario will continue to maintain a level of artistic activity second to none.
HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), today I would like to table the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of Northern Affairs highway construction program for the fiscal year 1983-84.
My colleague the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) has released this report this afternoon in Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.
In all, an estimated $336 million will be spent for construction on the King's highway system in northern and southern Ontario. In addition, we will be subsidizing municipal road construction for another $246 million, which will generate about $460 million in total expenditures when the municipalities' share is included.
In total, some $796 million will be spent on projects considered essential to preserve the present quality of the existing system, a system that ensures the efficient transport of goods and people in Ontario.
Briefly then, we are proposing new work on a total of 868 kilometres of the provincial system, primarily on two-lane highways, including scheduled construction of 129 bridges.
As part of the government's proposed expansion program under the direction of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development, $25 million is included for major highway projects in the Golden Horseshoe area.
MTC will continue to carry out the planning, design and construction of some 348 kilometres of provincial highways in northern Ontario, a system, as I am sure all members know, that is funded by the Ministry of Northern Affairs, which also sets the priorities for capital highway construction in the north.
Again, the majority of the work is primarily on two-lane highways, although the construction of passing lanes, truck climbing lanes and remote airports is also included. Details of all these projects and others are contained in the program I am now tabling, copies of which will go to all members via the legislative post office.
Mr. Speaker: Before proceeding. I would ask the co-operation of all members in limiting their private conversations to some place other than the chamber.
DEATHS AT HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, if the Premier (Mr. Davis) has a statement on Minaki Lodge I will gladly hold down question period.
Mr. Speaker: Was that your question?
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is his first question. I have no statement; next question.
Mr. Peterson: The Premier would not recognize it, but that was high-quality humour he just heard.
I have a question for the Solicitor General with respect to his statement today. Can the Solicitor General be specific about the levels of digoxin that were found in the investigation? Obviously, there is a great deal of confusion between his statement and a variety of statements that have come out, statements of various ministry officials as well as what has been reported in the press. I do not see any clearing up of that confusion as a result of the minister's statement or that of the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) today. Can he be specific about the levels of digoxin that have been found up to this point?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, other than saying they are elevated levels I cannot enlighten the honourable member with any more information than that.
Mr. Peterson: Can he tell us if he has evidence that these were not homicides? Is that what he is saying or is he saying they were homicides? What is he saying to this House?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: I have not indicated at all that they are homicides nor have the police indicated that there is a homicide here. The statement indicates the levels of digoxin are elevated enough to cause the coroner concern so that he has called in the police to investigate the matter further. Further forensic laboratory tests are being conducted on the matter.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I take it from the minister's statement today the levels that were found were higher than the therapeutic level which might have been expected, given the fact that we understand the child was receiving digoxin as part of his therapeutic treatment. Is the minister in a position to tell us whether the levels that were found were anywhere near as high as those in the instances which have been described by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, in the seven which they have said in their view could only have been caused by purposeful overdoses of digoxin? Can the minister enlighten us a little with respect to the situation?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to inform the honourable member that they are above the normal levels that one would find for therapeutic purposes and they are sufficient to cause the coroner concern to investigate the matter. As to where they are on the latter part of the scale that he has asked to fit them into, some particular scale that would allow him more preciseness, I am not able to give that information at this time, as the tests are still being conducted.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, the minister is saying the digoxin levels were above the therapeutic level. In his statement he says Jack Ackroyd cannot indicate this death is a homicide. The Minister of Health in his statement quotes the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control, which state: "For the future it is important to recognize that no hospital is immune to the possibility of intentional harm to patients by hospital employees or others in the hospital." A spokesman for the Attorney General's office yesterday said this particular incident seemed to hear very little or, in fact, no relationship to the previous deaths that are under investigation.
Obviously there seems to he a great deal of confusion from all sources on the government side, and I wonder if the minister might take this time to clarify just what the situation is.
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I do not believe the honourable member has accurately quoted the spokesman for the Attorney General's office or put into the statement by the Minister of Health what is intended from the statements put forward today.
I cannot enlighten the House any more at this time, because we are still undertaking these very elaborate tests. They are not simple tests; they are very complicated. They are tests such that when you find a negative result, you proceed to another sort of positive result. The matter cannot be simplistically arrived at by saying, "Here is a scale, and here is the exact answer."
I would like to enlighten the House further on it but I cannot, because it is a very complicated forensic scientific procedure that is being conducted by the Centre of Forensic Sciences to resolve the further information on the matter.
NORCEN ENERGY RESOURCES LTD.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations with respect to his statement today, which again sheds very little light on a subject that has become extremely complicated because of conflicting reports from a variety of sources.
Would the minister not agree with me that the statement he has given us does not give us any facts? In fact, he has prevented the public from making its own judgements on the basis of the reports of the investigators, and all we get is a gloss here off the top and have no further insight into this matter.
Given the gravity of the situation, given the aroma that this entire matter has had, why would he not use his discretion? He has gone a little bit of the way here; he has broken the principle of secrecy now. Why would he not go the entire way and lay before the public and this House a copy of the report of the investigators?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, let me speak quite honestly. I think there are some very important and substantive issues at stake here. First of all I think there is the integrity and respect that I have, the government has and, I trust, all members have for the individuals and the members who make up the commission that regulates the financial markets of this province.
My own view -- and I have absolute and firm confidence in the ability and the competence and the capability of those people -- is that they have fulfilled their functions and their activities in a way that is beyond reproach.
What the honourable member is really saying is that, contrary to public policy in respect to individuals or corporations that undergo investigation, investigations in which a determination is made that no charges should be laid, those investigations should be public without regard to the effect on the individual or the corporation, or indeed on society and on the justice system as a whole. That is a philosophy I honestly cannot accept.
I know there are exceptional circumstances in this case, because it has been well publicized and because there were hearings in Cleveland and there has been a leak of the document. But that should not alter the fundamental obligation that we all feel is imposed upon and should be part of the confidentiality under which that commission operates with respect to investigative reports like this.
The commission has given this House, and therefore the public, a comprehensive review of the principles on which it reached its decision and has indicated what its decision was on the basis of the application of those principles. I feel and they feel that that is sufficient justification for the public. Remember that it is the unanimous decision of a commission which I feel is totally above reproach.
Mr. Peterson: So the minister believes in semi-confidentiality. Would he not agree with me that that could lead to the conclusion that he is being self-serving in what he chooses to share with the public?
Given the myriad of other questions involved in this matter from different sides;
Given, apparently, the different point of view the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has from the minister on this matter and the fact that we still have not had an explanation for the dismissal of Mr. Johnston, that we still have no explanation for the different points of view of the various police forces, the investigative staff, with respect to the commission;
Given the fact there is a potential conflict of interest here -- of course, I read the documents quickly and I noted the rationalization, the legal opinion, for the conflict of interest at the securities commission was dated yesterday, April 27, so it was a letter after the fact to cover the events preceding;
Given the fact that various people's reputations had been very lightly bandied about, including some by the minister and various members of his government;
Given the switch of position of the Attorney General in this whole matter over the last few months;
Given all those questions and many more, I would ask him whether it would not be fair to have an independent probe that would look at all the facts involved to make sure justice was being well served, and also to look into some of the subsequent matters with respect to the Securities Act, conflict of interest rules and a variety of other things, to make sure the minister does not again taint his own reputation and that of some of his regulatory bodies.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: First, I have never bandied anybody's name about, nor have I heard anybody question the integrity of any single member or group of members of that commission. With all respect, what we are talking about is the integrity of a system and the preservation of the individual's or corporation's right not to be unduly exposed.
I understand what the member is talking about in terms of the undue publicity this case has had and the amount of information that has been given to the public through the trials in other countries and through a leaked document, but to suggest a fundamental principle should be breached with respect to the release of information, when opposition members in this House have acknowledged there was apparently a thorough investigation, is beyond my comprehension.
I am thoroughly satisfied as to the process, and to suggest the fact that the letter from counsel was dated at some recent date really means -- I am not criticizing, because I know the documents are lengthy, but if the member would read the documents, they say, "In confirmation of previous oral advice I gave you." This is not something pulled out of a hat. We are talking about solid, competent, capable, responsible citizens serving a role in this province of which we should be immensely proud.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister would allow me to say that his opinion of the members of the commission and mine are identical. That is not the matter at issue at present. Will the minister please consider in his capacity as minister his obligation to release the whole report of the investigation? If he does not release that report, he will continue the damage that is being done to people's reputations in connection with that investigation by the inappropriate and improper way the action of the commission was carried out.
I have read what I believe to be the report. I consider myself relatively well informed in this matter. I also consider there is nothing in that report which, in the words of the minister's statement and in the quotation to him from the letter of the Ontario Securities Commission, will damage "a person's reputation when the results of the investigation do not support further proceedings." That is the question that was decided by the commission, that there would be no further proceedings under section 118. The report does not damage the reputation of those persons, because the evidence of those persons was accepted by the commission.
Will the minister now, in the light of the concern which is created and because of the inappropriateness of the procedures of the committee in deciding this matter, determine as minister to release that report?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I could not disagree more totally with the member's concept as to any inappropriateness. Let me make it very clear that what he is really asking for is that this commission, and therefore other investigative bodies in this province, be they police or be they quasi-judicial, have a precedent set for them to release investigative documents on people where decisions have been made not to proceed with any charges. I find that such a fundamental principle that to breach it would, I think, raise a disrespect for that commission and for this Legislature and I do not intend to do it.
Mr. Peterson: I would implore the minister not to be intellectually dishonest in his answers of creating straw men, such as attacking the reputations of people on the --
Mr. Peterson: He is suggesting we are attacking the reputation of people on the Ontario Securities Commission, or he is suggesting that we are attacking some fundamental principles. He has quasi-broken the principle now and he cannot stand on it.
The issue is the regulatory capacity of his government. This is the issue of the trust companies, where he stands up and says, "I have looked into it, we are having an internal review and everything is fine." He knows damned well that for two years there was complete incompetence right under his nose.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: We do not take his word for it. He has lost credibility with us in this House.
I am asking the minister, on the basis of the confusion that surrounded this case -- the various noises that have come from the Attorney General, the police and a variety of others -- would be not feel he was serving the system better to make this information public so we can form our own judgement? Surely that is fair in the circumstances, given the support of that position from the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick).
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I suggest that the Premier (Mr. Davis) may want to dig out the horoscope on the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson). I do not know what he is taking these days, but he is showing a degree of irresponsibility that I think behooves him not very well and which his party should be very distressed about. He can talk all the lovely talk he wants, but there is a very fundamental principle here. For him to suggest it should be breached, should be shocking to individual citizens and to the public in this province.
SECURITY AT HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Solicitor General. It concerns the statement he made today and the one made by the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman).
Can the Solicitor General tell us whether or not there were physical security measures in effect after March 1981 at the Hospital for Sick Children? Can he tell us whether there has been any change with respect to physical security at the hospital since that time? In particular, can he tell us whether there have been any changes as a result of the decision of the government to stop the criminal investigation and to move towards the establishment of the Grange commission?
I am sure the Solicitor General will understand the importance of that question in the light of many other questions which are being asked about the events which took place on Saturday. Can he tell us whether there have been any material changes in the nature of the physical security at the hospital from March 1981 until today?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I am not apprised of the exact information the member is desiring, thus I cannot give him an answer to that precisely. It is a question he had better put to the Minister of Health, who is more familiar with the exact information on that question.
Mr. Rae: Could I ask the Solicitor General to redirect that question to the Minister of Health?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I outlined in my statement some of the steps that had been taken. I would assure the honourable member that other steps have been taken by the hospital which I think it would be inappropriate to disclose, because obviously if the hospital made public the security measures that have been taken it would make them virtually ineffective.
Mr. Rae: I think the minister has slightly misunderstood the question I was asking. I was asking the minister whether he was aware of precisely what physical security steps were taken by the hospital from the time Susan Nelles was charged in March 1981. Can the minister tell us whether there have been any changes since that time?
I think that information is relevant in terms of what has happened over the last while. Can he tell us whether there have been any changes as a result of the decision of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) not to proceed with a criminal investigation and to shift over to the broader-range inquiry?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have understood the question and I would refer the honourable member to pages 5 and 6 of my statement wherein several changes, but not all the changes, are listed. Again, to repeat, there are other changes that have been implemented to ensure patient safety, patient care and security, but it is not in the public interest to disclose those because it would make them ineffective.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, it seems in the statement the minister tabled in the House today, if he would refer to recommendation 96, there is a fairly lengthy discussion of security measures that should have been taken as a result of the Dubin inquiry. The recommendations specifically state, "Identification of all hospital personnel and visitors should be required as an additional security measure."
I note the response of the hospital to date has been that it is accepted in principle and is being studied. I ask the minister why is it being studied? Why has it not been implemented, when adequate time certainly has transpired over the last few months for these changes to have taken place?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Centers for Disease Control recommendation, dealing in the same area, expressed some concern about the particulars of the Dubin recommendations with regard to that. The hospital felt it was in the best interest of patients and families to go cautiously in that area from the standpoint of wanting to keep the hospital accessible while providing appropriate security.
Because of some other steps they have taken, which again we are not prepared to disclose, it is the hospital's opinion that just about an equivalent level of security has been maintained without needing to go to that sort of system which would undoubtedly change the atmosphere and feeling of care and openness that is available and most important to the patients in that particular area.
Mr. Rae: Perhaps I can phrase the question even more directly. Can the Minister of Health tell us whether, to his knowledge, any physical security measures that had previously been in place were relaxed at any time between March 1981 and Saturday? Can he tell us whether the physical measures that certainly would have been in place in March 1981 were relaxed? Can he tell us under what circumstances they were relaxed?
I am speaking specifically of physical security measures, and not in relation to many of the recommendations made by Mr. Justice Dubin and implemented by the hospital with respect to medical security.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If I have followed that phrasing carefully, I would report to the honourable member that all the measures in place as of last week, before this recent incident, were substantially better and more secure than they were in March 1981. In other words, there was no relaxation from March 1981 until last Friday.
Subsequent to the events of last Saturday, as a precautionary measure, some further rather extraordinary measures have been taken to increase the level of security once again.
CLOSURE OF CONSOLIDATED-BATHURST PLANT
Mr. Rae: My new question is to the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) who, along with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), now has disappeared.
Mr. Speaker: He is not in his seat.
Mr. Rae: It would appear they are ready to stay here for extraordinarily lengthy statements by ministers, but not ready to stay for --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: He can hear you.
Mr. Rae: He is not here so it does not matter whether the honourable member can hear me or not, does it ?
Mr. Rae: There he is. Fine.
Mr. Speaker: Put your question, please.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I understand the minister was present, as were a number of other individuals, at a meeting that took place this morning between officials of Consolidated-Bathurst and the Minister of Labour and himself.
I would like to ask the minister, given the fact he is aware the company refused even to meet with its own employees to make any adjustments with respect to its plans to close the plant in Hamilton, it refused to respond to the request by the employees that it consider an offer to sell, it would not "countenance any competition," as it put it -- and how ironic in the light of the minister's halcyonic statements to the free market system that he gives to the Empire Club from time to time; given these facts, does the minister not think it is time the government stopped meeting on its knees with these companies and that it simply pass legislation that would require companies, first, to make an offer to purchase to employees any time they are considering plant closure, and second, to justify their plant closures to a committee of this Legislature? Does he not think it is time we had that kind of legislation in place?
Hon. Mr. Walker: No.
Mr. Rae: The minister is nothing more nor less than a pathetic apologist for the corporate barons of this province.
As a shareholder or as a trustee for shareholders in Massey-Ferguson, how does the minister feel about a statement made yesterday in response to a question from another shareholder at the Massey-Ferguson annual meeting? How does he feel about the statement by Mr. Rice that there is a plan that the company be closed in Toronto, probably within the next two years?
Does the minister not think it is high time the companies told the workers their plans before they dropped them casually in conversations to shareholders? What steps does he intend to take, as somebody who is acting as a trustee for the people of this province with respect to their shares in Massey-Ferguson, to make sure that jobs are protected in this province?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker. I think something should be kept in mind here in respect to jobs in Ontario. Brantford is still in the province, and it was indicated that the jobs and the plant in essence would be moved to Brantford, Ontario, where, of course, there is equal need.
If we are talking about the plant itself, it is considered to be, and is, a very old, somewhat antique plant. It is a turn-of-the-century plant and, in the essence of efficiency, the company is presumably making some decision to change. There has been a rationalization by this company that has been substantial worldwide, with a whole host of companies closed all over the world in this particular firm.
Relative to the question of notifying people in advance, I think it was probably somewhat cavalier on the part of the individual not to have mentioned it first of all to the employees directly involved. On the other hand, to quote Mr. Barry Million, the acting vice-president of the United Auto Workers local: "I suppose we have more or less been expecting something like this, but it still comes as a surprise."
I admit a certain expectation has been going on here. I think the company was somewhat cavalier in not going to the employees first and explaining to them, rather than having it come out in the newspaper in the way it has. I think that is a mistake on the part of that corporation.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, the minister was at the meeting this morning along with the rest of us, and I am sure he was just as shocked and surprised at the intransigence of Consolidated-Bathurst. Does he not agree that legislation should be brought in to make sure that when a company closes a plant, as is happening in the city of Hamilton, at the absolute least that company should give the workers first right of refusal at jobs in Consolidated-Bathurst plants in other areas -- even that small concession that we were not able to wring from this company?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I would say that I too was somewhat shocked, and I think somewhat surprised, at the intransigence of the company. I thought it would be a company somewhat more co-operative. As a matter of fact, the member will recall I stressed the view that I thought perhaps there was a major gap the company had failed to fill when shocking everybody with the announcement, because apparently at Christmas it was a plant that was going to continue and suddenly on March I there was the announcement it would close.
I do think, frankly, they should be offering some first right in terms of succession or of transfer of employment in other parts of the province, and that it is a mistake on their part not to do that. They have shown some intransigence through all of this, indeed a great deal of intransigence throughout, and I think they have paid the price, as the member referred to it when he spoke at the meeting. They have suffered the price of corporate citizenship in this process.
As to whether there should be a law to force them to sell to the employees, in a case like this I would have to disagree with that. I do not feel that would be the appropriate thing. It would be wrong under the circumstances to force a company to sell to the employees.
It is in the essence of that company's best interest and, therefore, that of the employees of that company on a province-wide basis. There are three other plants in the province, in St. Thomas, Etobicoke and Belleville. I am sure it is in the essence of maintaining those three plants as strong, viable components that they ultimately rationalize.
At one point they offered to open the books to be looked at. At another point, after I had to leave the meeting, they indicated they were not too anxious to have anyone look at the books. That is something I would be prepared to pursue with them to determine whether there are the losses they are maintaining there are. I think such information could be supplied to employees and, therefore, there might be some understanding on their part.
The mistake that company is making is in not getting the message across to people that there may be a problem. They claim poor sales and they claim the company has been losing money for more than five years. The mistake they are making is not getting that message out. I think the member would agree with me.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the minister will be aware that the recovery we seem to be talking about in our economy appears to be a profit recovery and not a recovery as far as workers are concerned.
The minister is aware that at that same meeting the company officials not only refused to give any preference to the workers in terms of transfers to other operations of Consolidated-Bathurst but when they were asked if they would intervene in terms of Reed, the company they are selling it to, as to whether they would attempt to get some preference for the workers in that plant, the company's answer was it would not interfere, it would not make that recommendation, and that company would get its labour on the market just as they did.
Are we now considering the workers in an operation like this are nothing but a market commodity? Is that exactly what we are down to in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, there is no question this company has made a botch-up of its public relations, of its employee relations and of its labour relations. There is no question that has happened.
Mr. Cooke: They just follow your philosophy.
Mr. Rae: They are just doing what you tell them to.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, would you invite the noisy one in the second row to desist for a moment until I finish the answer? I think it is sincere concern.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the minister proceed with his answer?
Hon. Mr. Walker: I feel there should be some preference extended to the employees in terms of other operations. I do not think that extends to dislocating people who are already working there, but in terms of any potential employment elsewhere, perhaps because of increased work load in the other centres, that should be extended to them. I feel they are making a mistake in that regard.
I do feel there was some positive aspect to this in respect of Reed, the neighbour, as a possibility. I would like to see that explored. I will put the services of my ministry fully at the disposal of trying to help that situation.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) and the Premier (Mr. Davis), to whom I might have put this question, I would like to direct this question to the Provincial Secretary for Social Development, who was kind enough to stay.
On many occasions, members of the Legislature have expressed their frustration with the lack of adequate opportunity to deal in a detailed way with the very complex issues that confront education. When Bill 127 came for rd and when other legislation such as Bill 19 came forward, we noted that people used those occasions to bring all their frustrations about the educational system to the attention of the members of the Legislature.
Would the Provincial Secretary for Social Development be prepared to endorse the suggestion that a select committee on education be struck to deal with the many issues, such as the implementation of Bill 82, the implementation and recommendations of the secondary education review project report, the pooling of assessment of a commercial and industrial nature and the entire funding issue as it relates to education? Would she be prepared to support that to members of the cabinet?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member will know, of course, that this government has always attempted to provide a great deal of opportunity for consultation, regardless of the programs or the legislation that was being introduced. He will also know that I am not in a position today to make any such endorsation, but I will certainly pass it along to my colleague.
Mr. Bradley: Would the minister, as the policy minister in that entire area, not agree with me that a select committee on education, which the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande) and I have advocated on many occasions as a reasonable vehicle to deal with educational issues, would be a good forum for the public to have the kind of input it deserves on education issues ?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: As I have indicated, I will pass that suggestion along to my colleague.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the intent of that question was, but ever since 1978 this party has been calling for a select all-party committee on education. The government has bucked that and does not want to do it.
What fears do the government have about the way the education system is in this province that lead them to the conclusion that they do not want parental involvement in the educational process in this province?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I think if the honourable member will recall the hours and the days that were spent in consultation before that legislation was implemented, he will appreciate that we have nothing to fear. We welcome as much consultation as possible.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Given the fact that as recently as last Sunday No. 2 gas was selling for 21.9 cents a litre in Thunder Bay, 53 cents a litre in Schreiber and $1.40 a litre in Fort Severn, all in Ontario, will the minister and his colleagues consider establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate the ridiculous pricing of gasoline, an essential product, in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member knows, as all of us do, that there are certainly pricing differences, usually based on competition and the presence of --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: No, competition within a large centre. You know that. Go to Sudbury from a smaller community and you know there are gas wars going on and they bring about lower prices. If you are opposed to that, then stand up and say so. You want all the prices to be high. I mean, state your position. Or would you just nationalize everything and solve the whole world's problems and have everybody out of work ?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Seriously, I would suggest to the honourable member that the federal government already has a commission of inquiry into petroleum marketing and pricing at the present time and I have no doubt that they will address those matters in their report.
Mr. Stokes: Given the fact that the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, more than any other of the 27-odd ministries in this government, has the responsibility for consumer protection and for making sure there is some semblance of order in the marketplace, does the minister not feel it is part of his responsibility to the consumers of this province, when he gets wide discrepancies such as I noted in my original question, to bring about some semblance of order with regard to the price of gasoline in this province?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I can only reiterate what I have said in the past when this question has been asked. If there are those in this Legislature who feel that in our constitutional makeup in this country we should duplicate activities, nevertheless disregarding the obligations we have to taxpayers, then so be it. This government's position is very clear. With the federal government's commission of inquiry into the marketing of petroleum products taking place, we see no reason to duplicate that process.
SUDBURY ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Today we had an announcement dealing with acid rain. A couple of statements made in that announcement indicated that the mutual concern of New York and Ontario is "to apply the best possible science to study" and then it goes on, "to ensure that effective action is taken," Is the minister prepared to make a statement now that he will be following some of the recommendations or observations that followed from the Sudbury study on Inco and Falconbridge, which will require the reduction of emissions by the use of the most up-to-date technology available to eliminate those emissions?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows that from the outset the objectives of this province have been very clear both in general terms and with respect to the situation in Sudbury. Surely he is also aware that we have been awaiting the detailed review of the consultants' work or the task force's work on the most appropriate technology to carry the smelter operations to the next step in terms of reductions. As of this year they will have been reduced by 70 per cent from their peak emission periods. Obviously the next phase is becoming much more complex and costly, perhaps requiring some very substantial rebuilding of the plants. I can tell the member that I have now begun to receive the analyses of the companies involved.
Mr. Elston: How costly?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I can assure the member they are very substantial. In fact, the companies have put several millions of dollars into detailed consultants' work on appropriate technologies as well.
That is going to take a little further time to review, but I hope in the relatively near future I will be in a position to discuss the whole issue more broadly with my federal colleague the Honourable John Roberts and with my other provincial colleagues. Obviously we have been engaged for some time now in developing an overall Canadian strategy of which we are a significant part. This information will be critical in determining the allocation of reductions on a broader basis in Canada so that we can live up to our already stated commitment of a 50 per cent reduction in sulphur emissions in this country.
Mr. Elston: I realize there is a great deal of restudying and rehashing of the material that went into that study. So that we know what the minister is up to, is he prepared to set a time frame for its implementation or at least for the making of recommendations with respect to this study? It seems to me that for years on end we have been getting nothing but study after study and no time frame. As a result, no action is being taken.
Lion. Mr. Norton: That is a very self-serving question on the part of the member. He fails to recognize that this jurisdiction has taken some very decisive action on this issue. If he only did his homework a little more thoroughly he would have a better grasp on the complexity of the issue as far as the next step is concerned.
Could the member name any other jurisdiction in which there is in law, by way of regulation, a requirement that the major utility must reduce by 43 per cent over the next seven years? No, he could not. Could the member cite other jurisdictions that have already achieved the kinds of reductions we have ? No, he could not.
I think it is important that he recognize at least the commitment that exists in this province and, furthermore, take the time to look at the report in some detail so that at least he can understand, or I hope have somebody explain to him, that it really is a very complex issue that involves not only specific measures with respect to Inco and Falconbridge but, on a much broader base, other corporations in this country. Therefore, it has to he part of our broader strategy for achieving the further 50 per cent reduction.
Mr. Elston: Since the minister has asked me, I can provide him with some answers if he requires my help.
Mr. Speaker: As a matter of fact, I think not.
Mr. Elston: I am willing to give that to him.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I shall try not to offend the sensitivities of the Minister of the Environment.
Having read the report very carefully and, on behalf of my colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) and our Environment critic the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton), having presented our options to the minister -- since he has had our position since January -- can the minister tell us why he will not seriously consider our option, which was to have Inco reduce its acceptable levels from the present 1,950 tons a day to 43 tons a day, and because of the cash-flow problems of both Inco and Falconbridge that there be upfront money provided now on the part of this government in the form of either loan guarantees, loans or equity participation?
First, why has the minister not responded to our position? Second, will he tell us what his position is in regard to those options which we presented to him?
Mr. Speaker: The question is, why have you not responded to their position?
Mr. Laughren: No. no. That is not the question.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, it was inviting a little more complete response to that, even though the honourable member perhaps failed to express it as articulately as he might. One can surely extrapolate a little from that question.
Mr. Speaker: Not really.
Mr. Elston: Keith, do you want somebody else to answer it for you?
Hon. Mr. Norton: No. I know the answer precisely. The fact of the matter is that the member's proposal, which even if he were being candid he would have to admit was not really based upon any in-depth analysis but really quite a superficial knee-jerk reaction to the report, although I do give him credit for having read the report; I am not sure that anyone in this party over here has --
Mr. Elston: Wrong again.
Hon. Mr. Norton: We will give the member a chance to recite the critical passages.
Obviously his input will be taken into consideration in the overall deliberations. In terms of the specific strategy for dealing with the next major step, which I am sure he, if he has read the report. understands may cost up to SI billion, that strategy is something which will be an integral part of the ongoing meetings that I am having with my other provincial colleagues and my federal colleague in order to try to develop a comprehensive strategy across the country.
NORCEN ENERGY RESOURCES LTD.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
In the statement he made today, when he got to the bottom of the page and said they wanted to depart from their tradition in order to correct some fundamental misunderstandings of the Ontario Securities Commission's procedures, I thought they were going to own up to the fact that they had goofed in their process, but apparently that was not so.
When the commission has stated, as it has throughout, that its decision was not to prosecute Norcen Energy Resources Ltd., Conrad M. Black and Edward G. Battle on certain counts under section 118 of the Ontario Securities Act -- offences which if committed would result in jail sentences or fines or both -- in his capacity as minister and as a lawyer I want to ask the minister if he calls that an administrative decision of the commission or a judicial, or as we lawyers like to say, quasi-judicial decision? Which of those two alternatives does the minister call a decision with respect to the prosecution of a citizen?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, it may be a subject that the honourable member wishes to debate somewhere at some time, but I think the answer is very clearly put before him in the documents I have tabled in the House today, where it is clearly viewed by the commission under its statutory obligations for due administration of the act as an administrative process at that stage.
Mr. Renwick: The minister in his responses in this House on two or three occasions constantly refers to it as an administrative decision, but I noticed in the report in the Globe and Mail yesterday morning by correspondent Sylvia Stead that he referred to it as a quasi-judicial decision. He knows it is a judicial decision; he knows it is not an administrative decision.
My supplementary question to the minister is --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I do not know that, and the documentation I have put before the House from the securities commission supports the position I have taken. So the member cannot say that I know that is not so.
Mr. Speaker: Will the member for Riverdale place a supplementary, please.
Mr. Renwick: I was curious to hear the minister's colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) on the Metro Morning program indicate the other day, in his delightfully facile, ad lib way when he is dealing with intricate legal problems, that the commission has a prosecutorial discretion as to whether or not it will make a decision with respect to prosecution.
Does the minister know of any prosecutorial discretion in the Ontario Securities Commission with respect to whether charges, when evidence is available, will or will not be laid? If so, would be point out to me where that prosecutorial discretion is conferred on the commission?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the act, as the member will know, really speaks for itself. A determination is made by the commission, who are advisers to me with respect to matters before them, when it is necessary to consult me as a result of the statutory obligation they have. Therefore, the act clearly states that if a decision is made to commence such a prosecution, they must have the consent of the minister. So I do not understand what the member is saying. It is clearly laid down in the legislation.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the exchange of the minister with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) and the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) and I understand the minister's concern about establishing what he considers a bad precedent, that when an investigation is made and no charges are laid one does not usually release a report. I understand that; I think most of us understand that.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Your leader doesn't.
Mr. Roy: My leader understands that perfectly.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Mr. Roy: What my leader does not understand is that you change your position. That is what he does not understand.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member please place his supplementary?
Mr. Roy: I was provoked. You noticed that.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, how can the minister be afraid of establishing a precedent when he himself has bandied about certain names and some of the individuals involved here feel they have not been properly and judicially treated by the ministry by having their names bandied about?
Second, how can the minister fear establishing a precedent when we have a situation in which a commission is challenged by the police force and challenged by the law officers of the crown and, in fact, the minister has refused to allow the Attorney General to proceed with a prosecution? That is not an ordinary case.
Why is the minister afraid of establishing a precedent and why is he afraid of giving us the evidence? He wants us to accept his word. We want the evidence that the decision not to prosecute was justified.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Once again, Mr. Speaker, and I realize it is Friday tomorrow and we may all be planning to leave very shortly, there seems to be a fundamental -- well, I have got to get my pen out if I am going to copy. There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding. I want to say this to the member straight out and with full force.
Let me just clear the record with respect to some of the issues raised. I have got to get my pen out again, or can I get along without that?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I do not need the pen.
I have not bandied names about, and if the member reads that statement and reads those letters, there have been principles discussed. No names have been bandied about. I think to say so is inappropriate. With respect, to suggest I have refused to allow the Attorney General to proceed shows a total lack of understanding of the process and shows the member has not read anything; not a thing.
Mr. Roy: You refused through the commission.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The Attorney General clearly wrote to me, as I have said and he has said, asking that the commission review and reconsider its decision, acknowledging as he does and as I do that the legislation in this province creates a securities commission to perform a quasi-judicial and judicial role, and that it is the adviser to the minister who reports on behalf of its administration of that statute to this Legislature.
There has been no refusal to the Attorney General with respect to the laying of charges. Let us have that clear. The member has raised that before and he does not understand the issue.
With respect to the challenge by the police. there is no such evidence I know of. Clearly there are members of the Attorney General's staff who have a view with respect to the inferences that may be drawn from investigative documents. In the view of the commission, it is its obligation, with the knowledge it has and with the guidelines and understanding it has of the industry, to apply that knowledge to the information available and the inferences that can he drawn from it. It has done that and reached its conclusion.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I think it is important at this point, given this discussion, to make the record clear.
I quote from information filed today, a letter from Mr. Dey to the minister, which says on page 3: "The commission's unanimous decision was not to recommend a prosecution under the act and was not varied following the special meeting earlier this evening. The commission also decided that, although it would not actively oppose your consenting to any request for a prosecution made by the Attorney General, it would inform you of its clear decision following the special meeting."
I think that sheds some light.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I think it is entirely inappropriate. I appreciate there has not been much time to read all the documents, but a full and complete reading of the documents would make it clear to the Leader of the Opposition that the commission sees its role as one of advising this minister. Any role for the Attorney General with respect to requesting that a charge be laid by me is not within the scope of that legislation, nor their view of how the act should function.
What they have said is they would not contemplate any vigorous public objection if such a request were made, but they clearly see it would have been an improper request.
Mr. Peterson: On the point of privilege, it is just being patently silly --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the Leader of the Opposition please resume his seat ?
Mr. Peterson: Clearly he has an authority to do so. That is what the letter says. He has no right to stand up and misrepresent --
Mr. Speaker: New question.
EDUCATION FOR MENTALLY HANDICAPPED
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Community and Social Services. As he is aware from the question asked of the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) last Friday by my colleague the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley), parents of profoundly and severely mentally retarded children are extremely concerned about the implementation of Bill 82 and its effect upon their education.
Would the minister give consideration to attempting to persuade the Minister of Education to amend the necessary regulations or legislation necessary to permit these children to continue to be educated in the developmental centres operated by associations for the mentally retarded and funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services?
Mr. Riddell: Frank Drea wants to close them down.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, before I answer that, I will handle the aside.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the aside, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: He and his leader got run out of Bluewater the other night after they abandoned the parents. They should not forget it.
Hon. Mr. Drea: They abandoned them. They walked out on them.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege --
Mr. Speaker: Order. There is no privilege. The member for Huron-Middlesex --
Mr. Riddell: That is a misrepresentation of what went on. There is no way we abandoned the parents. We stayed there until the bitter end. Now tell the truth.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Eakins: You sneak your information, like Larry.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind. The Minister of Community and Social Services.
Mr. Eakins: Larry must have told you how to get the information.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjection, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I will ignore the interjection seeing it is from the calibre of person it came from.
Mr. Speaker: Now to the question, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: And where he spent his day before he came here.
Quite honestly, I do not think there is the problem the member raises and, I believe, the member for St. Catharines raised last week. As far as my ministry is concerned, we do not think Bill 82 will make any difference in the funding arrangements or in the ability of the particular children to receive the education they have received. There is already the commitment, which I believe was given last Thursday or Friday by the Minister of Education, that if there is a problem, she will move to remedy it.
While I do appreciate the concern of the member, any fears that have been raised are unwarranted.
Mr. Bradley: What the minister is saying is that the situation for those children as it exists will not change. They will still go out to the developmental centres, they will still be educated in the developmental centres and nothing will change, despite the implementation of Bill 82. Is that what he is saying to us? Because if it is, they will be quite pleased with it. If it is not, is the minister prepared to persuade the Minister of Education to amend Bill 82 to permit it?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I do not agree with the phraseology used by the member. However, in terms of the principle, as I said just a moment ago, neither the Minister of Education nor I sees the difficulty that is perceived by the group in Niagara concerning this matter. However, as she has already stated, if there is that problem, she will move to remedy it. In essence, as to who pays for the education and how it is arranged and provided, there will be no change.
DIGITAL CLOCK IN CHAMBER
Mr. Gordon: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. Not only am I offended as a member of this House, but I think the people of Ontario will be offended. When they come to this chamber, they expect to see a chamber that has some history and some tradition to it. When I look at those digital obscenities across the way, I can only come to one conclusion: the only thing that did not happen a few minutes ago was for a siren to go off.
Whoever is responsible for them should take them out. Nobody on our side asked for them that I am aware of. I did not hear any member of my caucus stand up and say, "I want a clock." I notice the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), the former Leader of the Opposition, is not here today. I am sure if he were here, he would be up saying something about those digital obscenities.
Mr. Speaker: The member for St. Catharines, on the same point?
Mr. Bradley: Yes. The same point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: It is not really a point of privilege.
Mr. Bradley: Whatever you consider it to be a point of, I am prepared to comment.
Mr. Speaker: It is not even a point of interest.
Mr. Bradley: On a point of privilege --
Mr. Speaker: The member is totally wrong in his assumptions. and it is just not correct.
Mr. Roy: He usually is.
Mr. Gordon: Nobody consulted me.
Mr. Speaker: I am not going to argue. Order.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: It would be useful for all members, because I have an entirely different understanding from that of the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon), for you to explain to us how it came about that we have this timing device in here. I think I fully understand why it is here and what prompted its installation in the chamber. But perhaps you could explain for the member for Sudbury just how this came about, because there is a very logical explanation. I think it would be very useful.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say on the point of order that it is interesting the member for Sudbury has revealed the basic attitude of his party towards technology, change and progress in the province as a whole. Now that we have digital time recorders in the House, we might even dare to have real television in the House in order that the people of the province would know what was happening in this place.
Mr. Speaker: All these decisions, of course, will be made by the members.
Mr. Gordon: How about a cuckoo clock?
Mr. Riddell: All we need to do is hang you on the wall.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Barlow: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I would like to point out to you, sir, and to the House, that I notice what is probably an error in the sheet headed Business for Thursday. The standing committee on resources development, it says, was to have met this morning at 10. However, the Orders and Notices is correct when it says eight o'clock this evening. I would like to point out to members of the House that we did not meet this morning; we are going to meet this evening.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you. I am sure we are all better informed.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege with respect to my statement of April 19 regarding the trust companies. I would not want members of this House to think I had misled them with respect to the --
Mr. Kerrio: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker --
A hon. member: Sit down.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I would like a point of order to his point of order to his point of order.
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps we could just calm down. I ask the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) to resume his seat, please.
Mr. Kerrio: You haven't heard my point of order.
Mr. Stokes: Sit down, Vince.
Mr. Speaker: Come on, sit down. Resume your seat.
The minister rose on a point of privilege, which takes precedence over a point of order. I will hear the minister, and then I will hear anybody else who wishes to rise on something.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I would not want the members of this House to think I had misled them in my statement of April 19 with respect to the net amounts of money that the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. had been required to advance to date with respect to the three trust companies.
The amounts I gave with respect to Seaway Trust and Greymac Trust were reversed. They should be Seaway Trust $7.5 million and Greymac Trust $33.5 million, instead of the reverse. The amount for Crown Trust is as stated.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition directed to the Honourable John Black Aird, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and I would like it directed to the attention of the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch). It is signed by 375 petitioners from my area, and it reads as follows:
"The undersigned wish to" --
Mr. Martel: The member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) should stay and hear where it came from.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, do I have to listen to that interjection? This is a pretty important petition.
Mr. Speaker: Of course it is, and I ask all the honourable members to give the member for Niagara Falls their undivided attention while he presents this petition on behalf of his constituents. Will the member for Niagara Falls please address the chair?
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, this petition is signed by 375 constituents from the great riding of Niagara who wish to signify their dissatisfaction with and strong disapproval of the grossly escalating gas rates. Many of these people are on fixed incomes. I concur with their feeling about the gas rates and support their position. I hope the government will take the necessary steps to reduce those costs.
CITY OF TORONTO BILL
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I move that in its consideration of Bill Pr3, An Act respecting the City of Toronto, previously before the House in the second session of this parliament as Bill Pr13, the standing committee on regulations and other statutory instruments may consider the proceedings taken before the standing committee on administration of justice on Bill Pr13 in the second session.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wiseman moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Gregory, first reading of Bill 23, An Act to amend the Ministry of Government Services Act.
Motion agreed to.
EDUCATION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Cooke moved, seconded by Mr. Grande, first reading of Bill 24, An Act to amend the Education Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill, among other things, is to give parents and interested citizens the right to appeal school closings to the Ontario Municipal Board.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to participate in this afternoon's debate and a timely opportunity to qualify my strong support for the throne speech. I recognize that the members opposite will disagree with the brief comments I shall make this afternoon, but I understand that their role is to be negative.
Today I would like to be positive -- positive about one particular industry that is of special interest to my Lakeshore constituents and positive about the role this government would like to see the industry take. I am referring, of course, to the province's automobile industry, the nucleus of Ontario's manufacturing sector.
As all members know, automobiles account directly or indirectly for one out of every six jobs in the province. An estimated 20 per cent of Ontario's economy depends on the industry. Moreover, 95 per cent of the country's auto manufacturing is concentrated here in Ontario, a testament to Canada's dependence on the vitality of our province's auto sector.
These statistics underscore the significant contribution that automobiles make to the provincial economy and, indeed, to the national economy. But it is no secret that the industry throughout North America has fallen on hard times. Beset by a slumping economy, high interest rates, rising energy costs and changing consumer preferences, North American auto makers have also had to contend with intense competition from low-cost imports.
Currently, imported cars account for approximately one third of the market, with Japan alone enjoying 22 per cent of the market share. In fact, Japanese penetration into automobile markets is a world wide phenomenon: auto production throughout western Europe has fallen dramatically as a result of increased Japanese competition.
From 1980 to 1981, French output was down by 11 per cent, British production fell by 12 per cent and Italian output decreased by nine per cent. By comparison, North American production in the same period was down by only 1.8 per cent. Clearly, the problems affecting the province's auto industry are prevalent in a global context.
What is of interest to this government is the timing and structure of a recovery strategy. To this end, our government has taken an active role in the rebuilding process of the auto industry, outlining in precise terms the policy that we as a country should be following to get the industry back on its feet. Sadly, leadership has been lacking from Ottawa; and make no mistake about it, we are dearly paying the consequences.
On page 10 of the throne speech, presented last week by the Lieutenant Governor, our government reaffirmed its commitment towards a more just policy on automobile trade. The two brief sentences read as follows:
"In this regard, as a short-term measure, we continue to advocate, in the strongest possible terms, restriction in the number of imported cars to allow domestic industry time to adjust to the new circumstances and, more important, to permit time to obtain agreement from foreign manufacturers to increase significantly Canadian content in their products. Since we are not satisfied that federal officials are acting vigorously enough on this matter, we intend to increase our own efforts."
Our government's resolve to improve the deal that Canada gets from the world's major auto makers is both a sound and sensible policy. Foreign automobile exporters oppose import and content restrictions because of the added trouble it causes. None the less, manufacturing countries the world over have in place tough, broad trade measures which protect their domestic industries and their national interests.
For example, Italy has a one-for-one trade agreement with Japan, up to 2,000 cars each. France allows only three per cent of the market to be taken by the Japanese, while the Australians, who require 85 per cent local content, restrict imports to 20 per cent of the market by levying duties of 58 per cent.
Last year, the Japanese agreed to hold exports to the United States to 1.68 million units, the same level as 1981. At the same time, the Americans were promised $300 million annually in parts purchases. Moreover, two Japanese auto firms, Honda and Datsun, have undertaken construction of vehicle assembly plants in the United States. The Japanese volunteered concessions because impending legislation was already in Congress. It is the old American logo of a little bit of arm-twisting.
There are two elements to these trade measures which are worth emphasizing. First, Canada should not be hesitant in its negotiations with Japanese car manufacturers. This country is the seventh largest market for motor vehicles in the free world. It is our responsibility as a country to ensure that the Japanese return a portion of their earnings to Canada in the form of investments and jobs for Canadians.
If we are not going to stand up as an equal partner in this trade relationship, as every other industrialized country already has, we should not expect the Japanese to volunteer benefits to Canada. I believe in fair trade, not free trade.
Second, the misguided notion that Canada is not in a strong trade position with Japan is just that: misguided. Like Australia, Canada by and large exchanges raw and semi-processed resources with Japan in return for processed and manufactured goods. But whereas the Australian government has successfully negotiated an intelligent, effective agreement with the Japanese, the Liberal government here in Canada appears to be ready to act only when it is too late. If Australia can do it, why can we not?
I have spoken at length about this particular facet of the automobile trade, because I feel very strongly that Canada is simply not getting a fair deal. Our government has tabled several proposals in regard to the auto trade which would improve the country's trade position so as to give Ottawa much-needed direction and purpose. However, it should also be evident that until the federal government of this country comes to grips with the gravity of the situation in the auto sector, little can be accomplished and negligible progress can he made.
This is not to say that responsibility for the current difficulties being experienced by the auto industry is solely in the domain of the federal government. Even the current federal government and its Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau, deserve fair treatment. In fact, the hard times that have befallen Canada's automobile makers are also the responsibility of the unions and the industry itself.
To illustrate my point, I would like to recall briefly the events of a strike at one of the major auto makers in 1979. At that time, the issue was money to the unions and automation to the company. The unions believed that higher wages were appropriate because, among other things, the small car being built at the plant was popular in the United States and the Canadian dollar had been dramatically discounted as a result of the exchange rate. The company was adamant that a new production process incorporating significant robotics technology was necessary for the plant's long-term viability.
When the smoke had cleared, the unions and management could not co-operate on a strategy mutually beneficial to each: the unions won higher wages, although they were later outstripped by rampaging inflation in 1980, 1981 and 1982, and the company decided against a $100-million investment plan for the Ontario plant. Today, every unit of that same popular car is being made in Wisconsin.
The reason for this shift is simple: the workers and management in Kenosha, Wisconsin, realized that Japanese penetration into the North American car markets was a long-term threat to their job security. As a result, the unions negotiated for job security instead of wages, and management went ahead with the necessary automation. Thus, while American plants are correcting productivity problems to compete with the Japanese, Canadians are failing to realize that parity in productivity is the key to international competition.
In the early 1970s, when the Japanese wanted to know more about robotics, where did they go? They came to the National Research Council in Ottawa, which at that time was among the world leaders in basic robotics. All this knowledge was free for the asking, but Canadian industry did not seize the ideas and build them into practical, money-making enterprises. As a result, 10 years later, we are in a position of catching up with the nations that have been using our own expertise to capture world markets.
The moral of the story is quite brief. In today's world, unions and management will be made obsolete if they compete against each other. The real competition is outside our borders.
Moreover, technology is here and here to stay. Robotics technology is one of the big reasons Japanese imports are so competitive. A recent study conducted in Canada found the hourly wage of an assembly-line employee is three to four times as high as the combined capital and maintenance of a robot.
Furthermore, the adaptation towards robotics improves production flexibility and quality control. This fact is particularly evident given the prevalence of small cars in today's market. Because tolerances are much more precise, the need for robotics has become even more crucial.
With the competitive realities of robots and automated production systems a matter of record, our government is increasing its commitment to research and development in the field. The $40-million centres for robotics and computer-assisted design will accelerate the pace of research into these most powerful of productive processes.
Moreover, the $25-million auto parts technology centre in St. Catharines will promote technological development in the industry and integrate the increasing contributions from computers, new materials and design procedures with current production expertise.
Robotics represents the future, but we need to preserve our auto industry to make it relevant.
I would like to conclude my remarks by summarizing the key determinants of Ontario's strategy for long-term stability in the auto sector.
I. Protecting Canada's interests: Our government is on record as favouring temporary import restrictions to enable negotiations between foreign auto makers and Canada on the subject of content requirements. It is imperative that Ottawa act now on behalf of all Canadians to protect jobs and incomes here in Canada.
I also want to add that I am personally in favour of an investigation by the federal Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce into questionable trade practices by the Japanese government. In fact, I have recently forwarded a letter in this regard to the minister, the Honourable Ed Lumley, and I want briefly to relay its significant passages to the House.
"It is incumbent upon the government of Canada to ascertain whether our faltering position in the international automobile market is related to unfair trade practices from abroad. I can suggest two areas where inquiries should be made.
"Currency manipulation: Between the years 1978 and 1982, the Japanese yen depreciated by more than 50 per cent in the US despite modest inflation and high rates of growth in Japan. This result has favoured Japan because their exports have become cheaper in American and Canadian markets.
"Conventional economic analysis suggests that the yen should have strengthened rather than weakened under the circumstances. Accordingly, it is entirely possible that the Japanese government has purposefully manipulated exchange markets to enhance the competitiveness of Japanese products, particularly automobiles. If this is the case, would you not agree that offsetting measures are called for from the government of Canada?"
"Structural protectionism: Once again, consider the Japanese experience. In that country (and increasingly several others), key industries with high export potential enjoy preferential domestic treatment until they are strong enough to compete overseas. Regulations prohibiting foreign competition in the home market are largely bureaucratic to discourage interested exporters abroad. Moreover, domestic enterprises ready to enter foreign markets enjoy advantages unheard of in our country. These include accelerated depreciation and special reserves for tax purposes, exemption from antitrust laws, subsidized low-interest loans and government-funded research.
"That governments should provide essential support and protective services to industry is beyond question. But if government intervention constitutes a breach of fair trade between nations, would you not agree that counterbalancing policies should be developed to protect the interests of Canada?
"I pose these important questions to you on behalf of my Lakeshore constituents, who are justly concerned about the ongoing viability of Canada's automobile industry. We do not ask for extraordinary intervention from any government, nor should we expect to receive it. But consider our dilemma: If Canadian products are unable to compete worldwide because of unfair trade practices from abroad, or if Canadian jobs are lost because foreign competitors sell us products with no commitment to having them produced locally, who speaks for Canada?"
This letter was sent to the Honourable Ed Lumley one week ago. If any member opposite would like a copy of the complete text, I would happy to forward it to him.
2. The importance of technology: Our government has continued to support the development of technological research, particularly in the vital automobile field. Increasingly the competitive edge in the automobile industry will be a function of technological efficiency on the assembly line. For Canada to compete, the domestic auto makers must welcome innovation by investing in Canadian plants and Canadian equipment.
Before I move on to a third and most critical strategic requirement for Ontario's economic recovery I would like to mention again that an excellent series on technological integration appeared in the March and April editions of the Atlantic Monthly, in a two-part exposition of the subject by Harvard professor Robert Reich, the complex issue of technological restructuring, job training for post-industrial tasks and the liabilities of ignoring foreign competition are dealt with in a convincing and informative manner. I heartily recommend that all members endeavour to read it. I was pleased to hear my colleague the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) discuss it in detail a few days ago. It is an excellent presentation of a very complex issue.
Co-operation between management and labour: The automobile industry can no longer afford the confrontational system of decision-making that characterizes labour-management relations. New techniques of management and new processes of assembly line production have been exported to North America with very low-cost Japanese automobiles.
Now is the time for the industry and organized labour to map out a broad strategic plan covering the next decade. With their co-operation the province's automobile sector will not only survive the current challenges that it faces but will come out smarter, more efficient and better prepared to meet the changing market preferences of Canada's car market in the 21st century.
In conclusion, I would like to remind members that the Canadian-Japanese trade talks will resume in May. They should join us by letting their federal colleagues know where they stand on this very important issue. They should also send Mr. Lumley a letter supporting some restrictions on foreign imports into Canada.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking today on the throne speech and after the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Kolyn). I found his talk very interesting, especially as it pertained to the areas of procurement policy, foreign exchange and matters like that. I intend to address those in my remarks today.
First, I would like to speak a little bit about the great constituency of Prescott-Russell, which I have the honour and the pleasure to represent in this Legislature.
Mr. Piché: I hope the member for Prescott- Russell has noticed there are only two members of his party listening to his speech.
Mr. Boudria: As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, in March 1981 I was given the honour and privilege to represent the people of the great constituency of Prescott-Russell in this Legislature. It has indeed been a very interesting time. However, our constituency has suffered from very serious economic problems during the past two years and for a number of years before that. Of late, with the downturn in the economy and all the other situations we have had facing us, the life of the people of Prescott-Russell has not been as good as it was before. It is our hope that the economy will pick up and we will finally be able to restore a good economic condition for the people of my constituency.
There are 19 municipalities in the riding of Prescott-Russell, and the riding is roughly 70 miles long and 30 miles wide. It is bordered on two sides by the province of Quebec and on the remainder by other constituencies in Ontario represented by the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) and the member for Carleton East (Mr. MacQuarrie). One small area is bordered by the constituency of Carleton-Grenville as well.
Mr. Piché: How about Cochrane North? Where does that fit in?
Mr. Boudria: The riding of Cochrane North is not too close to my area, hut I want the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) to note that we do share many things. The member for Cochrane North was educated only a few miles away from my constituency, I understand, at the College Bourget in Rigaud, Quebec, which is just the other side of the Ontario-Quebec border to the east of my riding.
He also has many relatives in my constituency, but they are all Liberals. I am told all Pichés are Liberals as a matter of fact, with the exception of the member for Cochrane North. I suppose there is a black sheep in every family and we will forgive him, because sooner or later he is bound to see the light and see that his party does not represent his views, much less the views of his francophone constituents.
I would like to speak briefly of some of the goings on in the past two years in my constituency. We will all recall there was some dispute as to who was to be the Conservative candidate in Prescott-Russell in the last election. The incumbent member was challenged by another person who felt he was very qualified. He was going to be an instant cabinet minister and all those other things. This individual, whose name is Roland Saumure, ran for the Tory nomination and was defeated, but a fair number of Tories did vote for him.
Since then, he has been very involved in the local Conservative association and in all sorts of other things in my constituency. We will all remember last year he began to make trouble in the community of Bourget and when he did so at that time, of course, the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) promptly said to all of us that he, as past chairman of our school board, was responsible for the fact that the school in that area was not in the condition it should have been. So that put an end to that gentleman's political aspirations for a little while.
He came back, however, and wanted to organize a meeting between the local school boards and the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett). The member for Ottawa South organized a little day in our area and it was called, as I remember it, Accountability Day. This, I suggest, means that at other times the local Tory cabinet ministers are not accountable. Anyway, on that particular day, they were accountable, which is always nice to know.
Mr. Saumure organized this meeting in my area between the school board of my riding and the Tory representatives from our area. Here is the letter he sent to Mr. Saumure. I would like to read a few lines from it.
It says, "Mr. Roland Saumure, Case Postale 68, Bourget, Quebec." We all know that the people of Prescott-Russell and all the people of eastern Ontario, for that matter, have felt for some time that we were treated as though we did not belong in Ontario, but to have the gall to send a letter to one of my constituents -- after all, Mr. Saumure is one of my constituents -- and to address it Bourget, Quebec. That letter was sent by a Susan Goodman, special assistant to a cabinet minister responsible for eastern Ontario. We can see here the concern this government and this cabinet minister have when they do not even know that my constituency is in this province.
I would like to speak about some of the things we need in Prescott-Russell in order to improve economic conditions. The town of Hawkesbury has been the hardest hit of all areas of my constituency by the present economic downturn. Obviously, there are many things we need in order to re-establish employment in that area.
For a moment I would like to thank very sincerely the effort made by the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker). He has been most co-operative in trying to find new industries for Hawkesbury and has greatly assisted me and my constituents. He has not been partisan. He has been very open about sharing information with me and the town council. It is important for me to state that now because he has been very co-operative.
We have not yet found all the solutions; we have found some. Some industries are returning. Of course, for the major industry, the Canadian International Paper plant, we have not yet found a solution, a replacement for that employer. Hopefully that will come if we can continue having that kind of co-operation. Undoubtedly it will assist in that process. I hope and believe the minister will continue co-operating that way, and I want to thank him again.
One of the things Hawkesbury needs in order to regain its place in our province as a good, industrial community is an airport. We have a problem there, for the nearest airport is some 50 miles away, but there is an airport 50 miles away in every direction. There is one to the east, one to the northeast and one to the west, all about 50 miles away. There is difficulty in getting a local airport because of those factors but it is my hope that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications will provide for the needs of Hawkesbury so we can have a proper study done and get the grants to establish a small municipal airport for that community so that the people in industry could make use of such a facility. The town council has already written to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to that effect.
On the throne speech, it is important to remember what some journalists have said about its content. I would like to make members aware of the editorial in the Ottawa Citizen. I am sure the member for Carleton East (Mr. MacQuarrie) has read it very attentively. I will repeat it in case he has missed a few lines. This was written by Don Butler on April 20.
"Anyone trying to make a case that throne speeches are a pointless ritual need to look no further than this week's Ontario speech from the throne for persuasive evidence.
"For 24 excruciating pages" -- pardon my emphasis on the wrong syllable -- "the Conservative government bobbed and weaved in an unsuccessful attempt to disguise the fact that it had nothing to say.""The speech was so devoid of content that Premier William Davis was called upon to explain why it was necessary to inflict it on the populace at all. The best he could muster was that it was traditional to start a session with a throne speech and he is not one to mess around with tradition."
"In place of real information, the throne speech offers platitudes and empty phrases."
That is what we heard from the Ottawa Citizen.
I would like to speak about another newspaper in eastern Ontario that is not known to be quite so liberal. This one is called the Brockville Recorder and Times. Listen to this from its April 20 edition. It says, and I will recite it only in part:
"The opening of the Third Session of the 32nd Parliament of the province of Ontario was not the stuff of which history is made, but it could have been a splendid opportunity for a government long in office to reflect on its record and to outline its plans.
"Those 24 wordy pages could, for example, have explained the failures in the previous program related to last year's speech. Why had it not been possible, as announced at that time, to provide improved protection for severance pay in the case of failed companies; to strengthen equal pay provisions in law; to create new homemaker services for the independent elderly; to provide capital for young beginning farmers? Did the government change its mind?
"Provincial issues of absorbing public interest have been the trust companies fiasco; the controversy over doctors' fees: the dilemma of rent control; public sector wage restraint. Why didn't the speech refer to these matters? Does the government not intend to take action with respect to them?"
Those are some of the comments of newspapers in eastern Ontario.
Mr. Conway: They are not very impressed, I take it.
Mr. Boudria: I think it would be fair to say that the people of eastern Ontario are not very impressed with the throne speech.
Mr. Conway: What does the Vankleek Hill Review say?
Mr. Boudria: I have not had the opportunity to look at the editorial page of the Vankleek Hill Review, but I will make the House aware as soon as I find out.
Let us talk about the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development document. It has been referred to as other things in this House. This was supposed to be the blueprint of the government. Well, it has been a blueprint for failure. BILD is simply not endorsed by the private sector and the other levels of government to the degree that had been anticipated.
Let me give members a few examples of how this document has failed. Let us talk a little bit about agriculture. The member for Carleton East (Mr. MacQuarrie) will relate to this, being an eastern Ontario person familiar with agricultural issues and having sat on municipal council.
Mr. Conway: They say he knew more when he was a Liberal.
Mr. Boudria: Oh, I'm sure that's true.
We will all remember, Mr. Speaker -- you being from eastern Ontario as well --
Mr. Conway: That is stretching it.
Mr. Boudria: Well, okay. We will all remember that the BILD document stated that one million acres of land in eastern and northern Ontario were going to be tile drained. Wasn't it beautiful to hear that?
Let me tell members how that has worked. Right after the election in which we were promised all of those fine things, the government on two occasions raised the interest on tile drain loans. I know this morning they lowered it once. But at the time when interest was this low -- the interest rate was six per cent on tile drain loans; now the government have lowered it to eight, so they are still two percentage points behind as well, 75 per cent of the cost of tile drainage projects could formerly be lent by the provincial government; now the amount is only 60 per cent. When they made the new announcement today, they did not choose to raise it to the former figure of 75 per cent.
How is the government ever going to achieve the draining of one million acres of land in eastern and northern Ontario unless it improves the drainage? They never will so long as they have that kind of attitude.
At the time they were draining other parts of the province, the grants and the loans were favourable. The technology at that time could not accommodate the drainage of eastern Ontario, because the pipes would break up. Now that they have the proper technology we can drain eastern Ontario, but now they have withdrawn the favourable grants and loans that we used to have. That means we will always be behind so long as we have this government and this kind of philosophy towards improving the conditions of eastern and northern Ontario.
I want to talk a little bit about agriculture in eastern Ontario. I have spoken about this in the past, but I think it is important to restate it because it is very important.
The area of farm land is decreasing all across the province at the present time. Of course, we all know that. It has decreased from 1971 to 1981 by some 6.5 per cent. However, at the same time that has happened, Russell county which I represent has had a decrease in productive farm land of 13.9 per cent, and Prescott county by 11.5 per cent. The government can see its programs for improving agriculture in eastern and northern Ontario are just not working.
Let us talk a little about the number of farms by county. Across the province, the number of farms has been reduced by some 12.9 per cent over the last 10 years. In eastern Ontario, there has been a decrease of 16.2 per cent. Again, we see eastern Ontario is faring worse than other areas of the province and this government is not acting.
Let us talk a bit about the provincial agriculture budget. Agriculture is an important issue in my riding, especially when the farmers of my area are not doing so well. We must remember that right on the other side of the Ontario-Quebec border there is a different situation in so far as encouraging farmers is concerned. We all recognize that all is not well in Quebec, but maybe enough is said of that. Let us concentrate on what is offered to agriculture in the two provinces.
The expenditure per farmer in this province is $3,057 per year; the expenditure per farmer in Quebec is $9,170. When the products go to market they get exactly the same price. How are the farmers from my area supposed to compete? They cannot because the economic conditions and the opportunities afforded by this government make it such they will never be able to compete.
Let us talk a bit about young farmers. We have had a recycled expression in this Legislature which is so old now, it is starting to grow grey hair. Last year's throne speech had a program for young farmers and last year's budget had a program for young farmers, but the program has never existed. One would think we would already have two programs for young farmers, but no, we still have none.
Guess what this year's throne speech had in it? It had a program for young farmers. Can the members believe it? But again we have no program for young farmers. Guess what? On May 10, I bet we are going to have a program for young farmers announced in the budget. That is going to be great. That will be four announcements for one program which still does not exist. The government has to do better than that. Never mind the rhetoric, just help out the young farmers in my area.
Mr. Andrewes: Beginning farmers.
Mr. Boudria: They are beginning. They have been beginning for 40 years. If this is the beginning, it is time it came to its end.
Mr. Andrewes: Beginning farmers; you missed the point.
Mr. Boudria: I want to talk about housing problems. The Ontario home renewal program has been fairly successful in my part of the province. It is one of the few programs this government has ever implemented that actually worked. In my constituency, municipalities have received considerable benefit from this program. I will name one or two examples, but will not read them all.
For instance, the town of Rockland has received $344,000 since the inception of this program. The money was recycled and brought in to help out the less fortunate people of that town.
Other municipalities have had considerable benefits as well. For Hawkesbury, $515,000 has been lent through the OHRP program. This year, when Hawkesbury is suffering the worst economic situation it has probably ever had, guess what the government did through the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett), the same guy who came to be accountable to the people of my area the other day? He cancelled the program. Can the members believe it? He cancelled the program during the worst hardship the population of my constituency has had.
I call upon this government to reinstitute the Ontario home renewal program or something like it because we need something to assist people to keep their homes in my area.
I want to talk a bit about another issue which has been a thorn in the side of many people. It is unfortunate the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) is not here because he has raised it on several occasions as well. It is the whole issue of how this government treats residents of mobile homes.
The treatment that has been inflicted on those people by the neglect of the government is almost beyond description. This government has chosen to ignore even the existence of all the residents of mobile homes of this province. The only thing I have ever seen them do is publish this three- or four-page information kit that is filled with almost useless information. It should be telling them instead, "Warning: this government does not wish to help out anyone who chooses to reside in a mobile home park."
I tried to introduce a bill in this Legislature to assist residents of mobile home parks last year, a private member's bill, and the government chose one of its members to speak against my bill. Guess which member they chose: the member for Lakeshore. How many mobile homes. Mr. Speaker, do you think there are in Lakeshore? Maybe the member for Lakeshore does not even remember speaking on the bill. The document was just handed to him, and it was said, "Here, member for Lakeshore, read this in the House this afternoon." Has he ever seen a mobile home? Oh yes, he visited his aunt when he was a kid, she used to live in a mobile home. That is probably the only time the honourable member even got close to a mobile home.
I represent thousands of people who live in mobile homes. I have been in them many times. I have assisted the people of the Bellevue mobile home park in Orléans, when the former Tory candidate in the 1977 election in the riding of Ottawa Centre cut their water off last year. That was the government's candidate in the 1977 election. Mr. Brian Cameron. We will read up on his name for the 1977 election and see what he did to those people and how they suffered, weekends without water, Christmas Day without water, New Year's Day, because he could not get the rent increase that he wanted from the rent review commission.
That is what he did, and that is a former Tory candidate. Another Tory, a member, of course, blocked my bill to try to protect those people in my riding. Shame on them.
One of the things that has not been addressed very seriously by the government is assistance to small business. This government should really increase its commitment towards assisting the small business sector in this province. As we know, a great percentage of the employment is created by the small business area and it is fine to help out the large companies when they are in a difficult situation, the Chryslers and so forth of this world, but we have to remember that small business is what it is all about.
Undoubtedly some of us have come from small towns in Ontario and rural areas. We know what is going on, we know what it is to drive through one of our small villages and see that half of the stores are boarded up and shut down and the people are now purchasing in larger cities. Our small businesses are just disappearing and it is high time that all of us started to realize the importance of that sector and what it has contributed to our society in the past and what it could contribute to in the future if we all gave it assistance.
Mr. Stokes: The province of opportunity.
Mr. Boudria: The member for Lake Nipigon says it well: the province of opportunity. It used to be written on our licence plates, but they do not write it on the licence plates any more, and it is small wonder, because the opportunity is gone under the leadership of the government that we have here.
Mr. Kolyn: Where would you rather be?
Mr. Boudria: In a Liberal Ontario, that is where I would rather be.
Mr. Treleaven: That is a fantasy land.
Mr. Boudria: Time will tell.
I would like to speak briefly about our youth in this province, the most precious resource that we all have. After our youth nothing else is important. The future exists only because of them, but it sure does not look that way when we look at the situation they have right now. It is very serious, and I want all members to pay very close attention to this. There are 233,000 young people in this province who do not have jobs.
I started working some years ago, and I did not have a very good job when I started. I acknowledge that, but at least I had a job. I am sure that all honourable members of this Legislature, when we tried to, had a job. How many young people today are afforded that same opportunity?
Many people come to see me here in my office at Queen's Park, people from downtown Toronto and many other areas. They cannot find a job. They are people who are well educated and highly qualified. They are people who could be making large salaries and a decent living. They cannot find jobs. It is especially serious for our young people when one out of every four under the age of 25 is not working. It is not only a shame, as the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) said: it is a disaster. I think this government has abandoned its youth.
I would like to speak briefly on environmental issues. One environmental issue in my constituency that is very controversial at this time is the toxic dump site that was to have been established in the municipality of South Plantagenet. Now we hear the dump site will not be located there. I, of course, am rejoicing at that thought, simply because toxic waste is not produced in eastern Ontario.
I know you are probably thinking this is another one of the "not in my backyard" type of situations, Mr. Speaker, but I assure you that is not the case.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Robinson): I appreciate that you thought I was thinking at all.
Mr. Boudria: If the government wants to bring us the jobs that create that toxic waste, we will gladly accept our share of it. But so long as we do not have the economic benefits I fail to see why Prescott-Russell has to accept the burden. The people of our area do not intend to, and I am glad to see the government has finally changed its mind and seemingly will place that dump someplace else in Ontario where at least they get the benefit from it.
Maybe we should speak for a moment on government waste, which is a topic all members are familiar with because it has been raised on some occasions in the past.
We should talk a bit about the fact that this government has spent very large amounts of money on advertising to tell us such great things as "Good Things Grow in Ontario," with strawberries on large bulletin boards in the middle of February, which just happened to be prior to the last election. It is a mere coincidence, I am sure. Of course, it said at the bottom, "Honourable Lorne Henderson, Minister."
It was just to remind us that all these good strawberries are grown in February in Ontario because we have a Tory government. I think we will need a lot more than a Tory government to make strawberries grow here in February.
Mr. Barlow: Every speech the member gives he says the same thing.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Andrewes: What about the other things we grow in Ontario? Do we not have any beef producers?
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Boudria: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for keeping the honourable members on the other side in line. I am glad to see you are doing that.
Maybe we should talk a little bit about Minaki Lodge. We have heard about it on several occasions.
Mr. Ruston: All $50 million worth.
Mr. Andrewes: On opening day the member will be there will bells on.
Mr. Boudria: Let us recall that the original Minaki Lodge was acquired by the government in trying to protect its $550,000 loan. The government loan was $550,000, the party defaulted and then the government seized the property.
Then it spent $4.8 million in 1974 to 1976. Then it had a restraint program and it could not do that again because that was too much money being spent. A short while later it decided it was going to revive Minaki, after spending $4.8 million to save a $550,000 facility. In so doing, it spent $28.4 million renovating the lodge. Remember, this is a $550,000 lodge it was renovating.
There was $15.9 million spent on the road leading to Minaki. After all, the government could not have a $28.4-million renovation without having a $15.9-million road leading to it. That would be totally illogical. So the government has done all this. Of course, it also spent $850,000 improving an airstrip nearby so one could land to go inside the $45-million lodge.
All in all, it spent $45 million on the facility. Do the members know who that is going to serve ? It is going to serve the rich and only the rich. The member's constituents will never use it, and he knows it.
Mr. Piché: Why are you against Minaki? Is it because it is in northern Ontario ?
Mr. Boudria: As I was saying, it is going to cost $135 a day to live in Minaki Lodge. I would like to know how many constituents from Cochrane North have $135 a day to live in that kind of a wasteful facility.
Mr. Piché: What about the millions being spent in the south? Any time there is something in the north this is what we hear from the opposition.
Mr. Boudria: Something in the north? I am sure the people of the north would have preferred jobs.
The Acting Speaker: I would ask the member for Cochrane North to please respect the time of the member for Prescott-Russell who has the floor.
Mr. Piché: He is not respecting any of us in the north when he talks against Minaki.
The Acting Speaker: I would ask the member for Prescott-Russell to try to be not quite so provocative.
Mr. Boudria: I will try not to be provocative. but the member for Cochrane North should know that his constituents do not want that kind of wasteful expenditure any more than we do.
Let us talk about the land assembly deal that the government has got into. They spent $508 million buying land all across the province because a former Treasurer had a dream. He called it a vision.
Mr. Ruston: Yes.
Mr. Boudria: Yes, the member for Essex North tells me it was a vision that the Treasurer of the time had: a $508-million vision.
Some of that land was bought in my area: $13.8 million worth was bought in an area known as Carlsbad Springs, just on the edge of my riding. As the member for Carleton East (Mr. MacQuarrie), who has now left the chamber. would know, because he too represents a part of Carlsbad Springs. one can hardly walk in the fields of Carlsbad Springs without sinking, let alone try to build any kind of housing structure in that area.
As we know, there are cartoons displayed downstairs. One of those cartoons is of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) driving a horse and buggy and it says, "Carlsbad Springs." With his horse and buggy he is sinking right up to the neck in the area. It really explains the folly of the government in buying land for such a venture. I guess that cartoon came from the Ottawa Citizen, but it really described the situation quite well.
Mr. Conway: Claude said some of those land purchases were "evidence that the ministry was off its nut."
Mr. Boudria: Yes, I heard that as well. The member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) did describe it that way.
Maybe we could speak a bit about social issues. I do not want to take too much time doing that because I will have the opportunity of doing so when we start the estimates process. But we have to state a few things. First, the record of this government as it pertains to women's issues, and the record is not very good.
M. le Président, je crois qu'il serait important maintenant de parler de la pauvreté dans la province de l'Ontario, et plus spécialement de la pauvreté chez les femmes. J'ai devant moi l'éditorial du quotidien d'Ottawa, Le Droit, du jeudi 10 février 1983, qui s'intitule "La pauvreté a le visage d'une femme." Je n'ai pas l'intention d'en citer de longs extraits, mais je voudrais dire qu'il présente une situation intolérable: celle des femmes dont le salaire moyen n'est qu'un peu supérieur à 50 pour cent de celui d'un homme.
Cette situation est tout à fait inacceptable. Je suis moi-même père de famille. J'ai une fille, petite encore, mais qui deviendra grande. Je refuse -- et refuserai toujours -- d'accepter le fait que ma fille vaut 50 pour cent du fils d'un autre. Cette situation est vraiment intolérable que ce gouvernement se doit de rectifier, afin d'assurer l'égalité des femmes et des hommes dans cette province.
Le gouvernement a annoncé dans le discours du trône qu'il y aura dorénavant un ministre responsable de la condition féminine. J'espère que cela va réussir, car nous avons déjà eu un ministre dont les fonctions étaient un peu semblables, mais qui n'a absolument rien fait.
It is important to state that the government's record on women's issues is not all that great. For a number of years we have had a minister who was supposed to be responsible for the status of women, and look where it got us. The average salary of a woman is a little bit more than 50 per cent of the average salary of a man.
There was a report stating that one out of every 10 women is a battered wife. You for one will recall, Mr. Speaker, having been a member who sat on that committee, that not much has been done since our report was prepared to improve that situation. I know the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) said he would have an answer and a reply to our report on or before the end of April.
Mr. Kolyn: It is the 28th.
Mr. Boudria: This is April 28. That leaves him only a couple of days in which to reply to that report.
I certainly hope the government takes seriously the very constructive report we made in order to improve that area of women's issues, which can be addressed right away because the report has been done. The work has been done by the social development committee of this Legislature.
Another area of social issues we should be concerned with -- and there are several, of course -- is the whole area of the visually impaired. I have brought this situation to the attention of the Legislature in the past. Some 14,000 people in this province are legally blind, but about 80 per cent of them still have some sight left. As a society, we have not concentrated on helping those people to see. Instead, we have spent our resources on getting them used to the fact that they are blind.
The whole focus of that issue is totally wrong. Most of them can be helped. I really think the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman), the Minister of Community and Social Services and their boss the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) could do something to improve that situation.
The Minister of Community and Social Services was the subject of an article called,
'An Informative Interview with the Honourable Frank Drea, MPP for Scarborough Centre," in his constituency mailout. I guess that constituency is not far from yours, Mr. Speaker, so perhaps you have had the benefit of seeing this questionnaire.
In it, someone was interviewing the minister, who was asked the following, "Compared to other provinces, are you generally satisfied with the level of social services in Ontario?" The minister replied: "I suppose the current annual expense of our provincial budget for community and social services, in the amount of $2 billion, is a pretty good indicator of Ontario's leadership in the field. Most importantly, the quality of our services is second to none in any other country."
Maybe the minister is satisfied with what is being done in the area of social services in this province, but I for one am not. When a recipient of general welfare assistance in this province has to live on $230 a month, plus a housing supplement if he or she qualifies, that is totally unsatisfactory.
I am very disappointed in the minister making that kind of statement, that he was satisfied with the present situation. It is the only thing he could have said as he has not yet convinced the cabinet to give more money, but at least he could have indicated to us that he is personally concerned. He has not even chosen to do that.
We could speak briefly on the francophone issue. We all remember that recently the provincial government issued a white paper entitled, A Proposal in Response to the Report of the Joint Committee on the Governance of French-Language Elementary and Secondary Schools. I am sure all honourable members will recall that this report was released a few weeks ago, only a few days before the throne speech, which refers to the issue again.
When we started to discuss the throne speech in this House, the mover of the response for the government was the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) and the seconder was the member for Parry Sound (Mr. Eves). The member for Parry Sound represents a town known as Mattawa. We all know the very serious school conflict that has occurred in that community and how important the issue of francophone education is in Mattawa.
Not one word in the response from the member for Parry Sound was directed towards francophone education, not even after I and other members of this Legislature reminded him of that issue and urged him to speak about it in his reply to the address of His Honour. He never chose to say a word.
That is very unfortunate and it goes to explain -- how should I say it? I guess we cannot accuse any member of being hypocritical -- I think it indicates the hypocrisy of the government in this area. Let me give an example of how different members have conflicting views that they voice privately to their own constituents on the issue of francophone education.
Members know, of course, the government prides itself in my constituency in telling everyone what a fantastic job it does in providing francophone services. Let us see what some members of the government say.
Members will recall the 1979 by-election in the riding of Carleton, a time when the government published a little flyer in the riding stating: "If you don't want bilingualism à la Trudeau," or something like that, "vote for us." That was the same Tory government. But perhaps we should not go back that far in history, because maybe they are more enlightened since that time.
Here we have a copy of a newspaper from the constituency of Hastings-Peterborough. In an interview, the member for Hastings-Peterborough (Mr. Pollock) says the following when they start discussing francophone services:
"However, there is one program not easily acceptable to Pollock," that, of course, is the member for Hastings-Peterborough, "a white paper on the province's French-on-demand plan that would permit francophones to request education in their mother tongue." Those are comments made by the member for Hastings-Peterborough to that newspaper from his own constituency.
It does not exactly say the same thing as the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) says or what some other honourable ministers from that government say. We can see the concept of this government most of the time, practically all of the time, telling francophones they are giving them everything and telling the anglophones they are giving nothing to the French.
The amount of work and energy spent in doing that, had it been put towards productive areas of this province instead of trying to hide one side from the other, would have been far better spent. The whole issue of francophone education is not solved merely by the fact that this response has come up. First, we are not sure whether the government will ever implement it.
Mr. Bradley: It was not announced during the Carleton by-election.
Mr. Boudria: No, it was not announced during the Carleton by-election. That is a very interesting point. I am sure it is a mere coincidence that it was announced at approximately the same time as the Premier (Mr. Davis) was toying with the idea of running federally and trying to get Quebec delegates' support.
However, some people have dared to question whether the Premier was trying to get Quebec delegates' support by releasing that report. Is that not something? I am sure it has crossed the minds of a few of us upon occasion.
Last year I did a study on the whole issue of francophone education in northern Ontario and released the report that is here. This is entitled, A Right or a Privilege: The Federal Inquiry into Francophone Minority Education in Ontario.
I suggest the response to the white paper released by the government does not even address some of the issues or problems that will exist in the area of francophone education, especially as it refers to the powers of the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario. I think the government must address itself to the powers of that commission, otherwise there will always be conflicts.
Let us remember that the statement of October 5, 1979, by the Minister of Education made it quite clear the government wanted to provide better education for francophones, but it never established the proper structure to do it.
In other areas that concern the francophone population. I want to speak very briefly to the issue of health care services for our French-speaking population.
Les services de santé offerts aux francophones de l'Ontario sont tout à fait inadéquats, M. le Président. Il est important de souligner, par exemple, qu'il n'y a pas même, à l'hôpital de Hawkesbury, un psychiatre à temps plein capable de communiquer en français avec les francophones de la région. Nous n'avons qu'un psychiatre à temps partiel. C'est donc une grave pénurie.
J'ai parlé l'an dernier de cette situation à l'honorable ministre de la Santé. En réponse à une question que je lui avais posée, il m'a dit ne faire aucun effort pour mettre des annonces dans les journaux des autres provinces, par exemple au Québec, pour recruter médecins et cadres des services de santé pouvant servir la population francophone de l'Ontario.
Je me demande si le gouvernement prend vraiment au sérieux le fait d'offrir des services de santé en français aux francophones. Pourquoi n'est-il pas possible de mettre des annonces dans les journaux de Montréal ou ailleurs au Québec, indiquant le besoin de médecins francophones dans Prescott-Russell, dans le Nord ou dans d'autres régions et expliquant les avantages fiscaux et autres que trouverait un médecin québécois à venir s'installer dans notre région ? Mais non, le gouvernement n'a jamais rien fait.
Quelques essais timides ont été tentés pour encourager les jeunes à intégrer le système universitaire dans les services de la santé. Mais c'est tout. Alors je pense que si l'on veut offrir un meilleur service, on se doit de faire une campagne sérieuse ailleurs, pour recruter des cadres dans le domaine de la santé.
I would like to talk a little bit about consumer protection. We all recall the trust company incident of some months ago, and again the issues are being raised in this Legislature right now in the whole area of consumer and commercial relations.
One area the government should address itself to is the protection of consumers buying automobiles. It is interesting that the subject of automobiles was brought up earlier on. This government should have the kind of legislation that exists, for instance, in Connecticut and California in effect, a lemon bill, as it is referred to in those jurisdictions. I intend, shortly, to introduce a private member's bill, a bill that would be entitled that way, a lemon act, to protect consumers in this province against purchasing new automobiles that may be so defective as to be inoperative, that are just no good. I believe a government should take legislative measures to ensure the consumers are given their money back when such a thing happens.
The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie), when he became quite unpopular last year after the trust company controversy, decided to do something to be the saviour of the world. What he chose to do, of course, was to ban kickboxing. What banning kickboxing has to do with increasing the minister's popularity, I still have not quite figured out.
However, the minister came into this House one day and made an announcement that from then on kickboxing was going to be banned. Is that not interesting? He said it was a very dangerous sport. We asked him if anybody had ever been hurt. He said: 'Well, I don't know. Probably not." We asked if anybody had ever been hospitalized overnight for an accident involving kickboxing. He said: "No. We have no such record." We asked if there were any complaints about the sport. He said: "No. But I banned it anyway."
If the logic of that somewhat escapes you, Mr. Speaker, you are not the only one. He did say the power of a foot was 20 times that of a fist. Imagine. Jean-Yves Theriault, the world champion kickboxer, stated, "If my foot were 20 times the power of my fist, I would kick right through somebody and my foot would come out the other side," That shows just how ridiculous was that kind of statement, made by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, which indicated a total lack of understanding of that sport. He only did it to try to take the focus off other issues he was unpopular for.
Very briefly, I would like to talk about 1984, which is the year we will be celebrating the supposed 200th anniversary of this province. I for one do not intend to celebrate 1984. I do not believe it reflects the accuracy of the 200th anniversary of this province. We should celebrate that in 1991. The Constitutional Act was signed in 1791; and 200 years after 1971, according to my calculator, equals 1991, not 1984. I challenge anybody to rig the mathematics to tell me otherwise. That is blatantly political. All they are doing is using that year as a springboard for their election.
Let me give an example of how they are doing that. I talked about Roland Saumure, the fellow who organizes the connections between the Tory party and people in my area, that fellow who was sent a letter stating, "Bourget, Quebec." Who was chosen to co-ordinate the bicentennial celebrations in my riding? Roland Saumure, the defeated Tory candidate for the nomination. Again a mere coincidence, but this is not a political event.
"We are not trying to bring Her Majesty here for political purposes," says the government. "Absolutely not. We just chose defeated Tory candidates to run this in various ridings as a coincidence." I suppose it is because Mr. Saumure happens to be very qualified in matters pertaining to the bicentennial of the province. I am sure that will not do him much good either.
In concluding, I would be remiss in my duty if I did not take some time to talk about the procurement policy of the government. Members will remember last year, after being provoked by the member for Cambridge (Mr. Barlow), I rose in my place and talked about the fact that this government was not doing too well in its procurement policy. I would like to report progress today.
I have here a pen from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. This is a Bic pen. This Bic pen, in addition to "Renseignement Ontario, service en français" and all that -- they give them out in my riding, although not too much in Hastings-Peterborough -- is marked "Made in USA."
I just came back from the lobby and picked up this tray we use to put dishes on. It says, "Camborough Manufacturing, Huntington Beach, California." Is that not progress ? A year later, that is how much we have progressed.
We have another item here made by Camborough in California. Again, here is a cardboard box made in Franklin Park, Illinois. This is a government of Ontario diary that we use. It is made by the Sheaffer Eaton division of Textron Inc. and is marked "Printed in USA." We are doing really well. This is a paper product, and trees are very scarce in this country.
Here we have a paper moistener made in Carlstadt, New Jersey. We are doing very well. Two years later, we are progressing.
Here is something members will be interested in. The Minister of Government Services (Mr. Wiseman) comes from the riding of Lanark. In that riding is a little town called Perth. Perth prides itself in its scissors factory. It produces scissors, just beautiful scissors. There are two pairs here, both government issue. This one is made in Taiwan and this one in England. That is producing a lot of jobs in the constituency of the Minister of Government Services.
Here we have little yellow scratch pads. They come from the Ministry of Government Services catalogue. These are 3M scratch pads from St. Paul, Minnesota.
We have my favourite item here, the Royal Doulton fine hotel ware used in our dining room downstairs. Again, much progress has been made over the last year in its procurement policy. I challenge this government to do something about that policy, to update it, to give a break to Canadian industry.
We heard from the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) last week that nobody makes a stapler in this province. We know that because this government stapler says, "Swingline Inc., Long Island County, New York."
Mr. Conway: The stapler must have come along with the member for St. George (Ms. Fish).
Mr. Boudria: That is possible. Here we have gummed labels, paper labels. These gummed labels, again government issue, are made by the Dennison Manufacturing Co. in Framingham, Massachusetts, USA. We are doing very well in our buy Canadian policy.
We have a glue stick and it is made in West Germany. Glue is very scarce in Ontario. We have a highlighter pencil. Where is this one made? It is made in the United States. We have here a staple remover made in Hong Kong. We have a letter opener made in Korea. We have a brand-new paper punch made in England. All in all, we have a very good record here in Ontario for our procurement policy.
There is one area of progress. We still use Paper Mate pens with the government of Ontario logo on them, but I am glad to say the government has finally told the supplier, "Please do not write 'Made in USA' on them any more." It is probably the same pen, but at least it does not say "Made in USA" on the government of Ontario pen.
We have achieved enormous progress over the past year. I am glad to say part of the clock we bought for this Legislature was manufactured in Burlington; but the dials, which the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) was complaining about, are made in England. That is the progress we have achieved in this Legislature over the past few years.
I would like to thank the honourable members for their attention, and I again want to stress that this government has not lived up to its promise of 1981. It has not kept the promise. It has done everything but keep the promise.
Mr. Conway: Do they make bow ties in Canada?
Mr. Boudria: Maybe they do. We are going to find out some day whether they make bow ties. I sure hope we begin to do something so we improve the economy of this province. A good, strong Canadian procurement policy by this government can go a long way towards achieving that.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Robinson): I would like to thank the honourable member from the Mel Swart school of show and tell. Does any other honourable member wish to participate?
Mr. Stokes: I think that is very inappropriate.
The Acting Speaker: I withdraw the remark.
Mr. Stokes: I think that is very inappropriate for somebody who is occupying the Speaker's chair, an unseemly remark like that.
The Acting Speaker: I withdrew the remark. Does any other honourable member wish to participate in the debate?
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, my reluctance to stand was based on the understanding that the Conservative Party was about to have a speaker rise in his place but, given that is not the case, I will gladly proceed.
Let me begin by reflecting on the comments made by one of our well-known columnists who, a day or two prior to the throne speech being introduced, reflected on this theme:
"Lieutenant Governor John Black Aird would do us all a favour if he opened the Ontario Legislature on Monday with an apology for his government's failure to live up to expectations. It wouldn't be difficult, something like, 'In a moment the throne speech, but first I want to say that I'm really sorry I made some promises last year that my government couldn't keep.' Then he could call the Premier before him and ask him to explain why certain promises were not kept, threatening to throw him into the federal leadership contest if he had no satisfactory answer."
We all enjoy a little bit of humour from time to time and that, of course, was the intent of the columnist, Mr. French. Beyond that, he was drawing to our attention something that is overlooked from time to time by us in the Legislature and certainly by the people of Ontario. and that is the promises of earlier throne speeches or earlier statements by the government.
To give the members some evidence of that. I want to go back through a few of these comments from the past 10 or 12 years and point out that many of the promises made were not kept.
Here is a statement from March 1971. The government said: "The current unconscionable levels of unemployment which have been forced upon the Canadian people will be combated with every means at the disposal of this provincial government. The budget will be presented on April 26. Its purpose will be to restore the inherent vitality of our economy so far as this is within provincial competence."
In February 1978, the government said: "Relieving the current state of unemployment is, in many respects, beyond the control of a provincial jurisdiction. Ontario believes, therefore, that we must seek national answers to national problems and that we strengthen Canadian responses to larger economic challenge only throughout co-ordinated initiatives." Of course, it went on for the following four or five years to bash the federal government.
Here is another statement from Ontario, going back to 1971: "Summer employment for students will also require increased government assistance. Programs have been created to enable students to demonstrate their personal initiative, respond to their concern about the environment and acquire funds which will permit their education to be continued."
Here is another government statement, from 1972: "My government will continue in the summer months the employment for youth program and will increase the scope of this program by providing additional funds for its activities."
Again from 1971: "My government has also been most concerned to ensure that young people are not disadvantaged in the search for work."
From 1981: "A community counselling program will be developed to tap the resources of our young people and guide them towards worthwhile and productive jobs."
About job training, it said in 1978: "Despite the numbers of unemployed and underemployed, a shortage of skilled tradesmen has been recurring in the manufacturing sector. This paradox can only be resolved by a training program especially geared to satisfy the manpower needs of industry. Development of such a program will be given the highest priority during the year."
I have referred to only four pages of 16 pages of such quotes that I have; and, given the opportunity to speak for two or three hours, I could go on and repeat most of what I have just said in those few comments.
The point is that this particular speech from the throne leaves much to be desired. Our leader put it quite succinctly when he said in reaction to the speech that the Conservative government's response to this province's current economic ills is to await a recovery led by the private sector, increased consumer confidence and events in the United States.
On the basis of this year's speech from the throne, the Conservatives feel no compulsion to take the lead in promoting an economic recovery; nor is there any indication that it is positioning itself to deal with the challenges of the technological changes which are already besetting Ontario's industries.
My leader went on to say: "There is no indication of any new job creation program. In particular, the government has abdicated its responsibilities for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed youth in this province by ignoring any new programs aimed at this most distressing of all our current economic problems."
I am a little confused when I read through this speech to read statements such as we find on the very opening page in which the government indicates that it feels the restoration of confidence has begun, and yet it goes on in the next breath to say that the personal economic outlook for many Ontarians will remain challenging. It then goes on to spell out doom and gloom.
It is difficult too for me, beyond those words, to accept that the restoration process is really under way when I consider problems presented to me day by day in my constituency office.
I have the authority of the writer of this particular letter to use it as a reference point in this debate today. This is a letter from a constituent of mine, Mrs. Judy Foell of Kipp's Lane in London. She gives me some background in this letter, dated March 1983, and followed it up with conversations by phone in the past few days. She indicates:
"Today I have applied for general welfare assistance. The following is a list of my monthly expenses: rent $284, food $140, phone $12, dry cleaning $3, cable $8, household insurance $7, bills of $20, $6.80, $6.50, etc.: total $487.30.
Welfare is going to pay me approximately $313 per month. Can someone please tell me how I am going to live on $7.25 a week for food? With this kind of assistance I can understand why so many people steal. After I pay my rent and food I can't afford cable, household insurance, etc. Something has to be done and has to be done soon. And this wonderful government can pay various members of commissions, etc. many hundreds of dollars a day just to find out what is wrong with the economy."
The letter goes on in some detail about the plight in which this particular person finds herself, with no light at the end of the tunnel. As the leader of the third party said the other day, this might better be called, "the light at the end of the gangplank, as opposed to the light at the end of the tunnel."
There is another constituent of mine whose picture appears in today's London Free Press, with somewhat the same problem. I am referring to Mrs. Sharon Stiles whose concern about the economy is one she has to struggle and fight with every day as a single parent, leading a single parent family.
The Ontario Liberal Party has prepared a paper dealing with jobs for youth. We have had a task force headed up by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney), and in his report there are certain recommendations made. I want to make reference to the recommendations of our youth task force employment report. It is worth reviewing these recommendations and summarizing the progress made towards their implementation.
The first recommendation made in that report was to provide more training opportunities for those who are currently unemployed in order to meet skilled manpower demands, particularly in new technologies when the economy improves. No action has been taken to date.
2. Encourage through incentives and/or require through legislation on-the-job training by Ontario industry with a view to meeting our own skilled workers' needs. There has been no action to date.
3. Restructure the apprenticeship program to permit easier access and reduce the current high drop-out rate. Again, there has been no action from the government.
4. Make a realistic and conservative attempt to change the public's conception of the value and importance of skilled trades, with a view to removing the stigma still attached to blue collar work. Again, there has been no action.
5. Improve upon the present counsellor-to- student ratio of one to four hundred and improve in-service opportunities for counsellors to keep abreast of changes in business and industry. No action has been taken.
6. Introduce career counselling at the elementary school level. We acknowledge a wee bit of progress in that area.
7. Re-evaluate the present secondary school curriculum and make mandatory such core subjects as English, mathematics and science, to ensure young people are equipped to be flexible and adaptable in today's changing labour market. Implemented, and is that not wonderful?
8. In this connection, particularly stress the importance of female students continuing to study maths and sciences, enabling them to qualify for the new technologies. In that area, some progress has been made.
9. Introduce into schools a mandatory credit course in career guidance, job readiness and development of marketable skills. There has been no action.
10. Strongly support and provide effective ministerial guidelines as well as mandatory standards for co-op education and work experience programs in secondary schools which provide a more realistic bridge from the school to the work environment. There has been no action.
11. Encourage greater liaison between industries, business and education. There has been very limited progress.
12. The last recommendation is to improve manpower forecasting by government and business to assist counsellors and students to make appropriate career decisions. There has been limited progress in this area; notably some progress with the federal government.
Now that is not a very happy record, nor is it a very happy record to consider when one looks back at the promises made by our government in its earlier throne speeches.
Moving on through the throne speech, the next topic that it addresses, on page 3, is the significant slowdown in inflation, and then the trend in wage and salary settlements which are contributing to a growth in confidence in our ability to deal with inflation. There is an indirect reference there to the wage restraint bill that the government brought in last year after the theme of six and five was introduced by the federal government. There is no reference, no credit given to any federal government initiative in this area.
I think the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), did a commendable job yesterday in dealing with the concerns of his party and, for that matter, members outside of his party in this Legislature, members from our party and, hopefully, from the Conservative Party insofar as occupational health and safety is concerned.
He went on at considerable length about that theme. I think he should be commended. However, when we get into the throne speech and look at the area of labour, the reference to labour is almost conspicuous by its absence. I would point Out that the government missed a golden opportunity in its speech to deal with that theme of occupational health and safety and, for that matter, other themes such as severance pay. There is no reference that I can see in here on that particular theme.
Carrying on to another aspect of this throne speech -- I am not going to hit on all of them given that there are only 12 minutes left before we recess -- I do want to point out again that page 7 of the throne speech says:
"While the recently established federal Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada was a welcome initiative, we cannot rely solely on this longer-term process to spur lasting economic recovery. Enhanced federal-provincial co-operation is required now."
There is no indication of how that enhanced federal-provincial co-operation is going to be fostered, but I would hope that we have reached a point in history, and a point in our Ontario Legislature, where we are going to put this constant fed-bashing theme aside and seriously, and honestly, attempt to work in a co-operative way to see that the economic union and development prospects for Canada does become a fact.
I am interested too, and very curious about the reference made in the latter part of page 7 of the throne speech about strengthening "the management of the province's affairs." What a large, sweeping, half-dozen words that is. What does it mean? How are we going to strengthen the management of the province's affairs? What magic wand is the Premier (Mr. Davis) going to wave, or is the cabinet going to wave, to strengthen the management of the province's affairs?
It may well be that the government is going to reflect on the error of its ways. It may reflect on such things as some of the thoughts brought here in private members' hour. I want to go back and recall May 1979, a time at which this House considered a private member's bill called "Program Cost Disclosure Act."
This bill was debated on a Thursday afternoon. It was defeated because, I suppose, it was a bill from a member of the opposition. One of the main speakers who spoke against this particular bill -- I must admit with a degree of delight it was I who sponsored it -- was the member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague). He said that we did not need a bill such as the Program Cost Disclosure Act because the government, in a very routine manner, currently assesses all the factors concerning past and new programs that this bill seeked to have included in the compendium of information.
Later that same year there was another private member's bill presented and that was the Fiscal Plan Act. The member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) did the hatchet job on that particular bill. The member for Oriole said: "Lest there be any doubt that this cannot be substantiated -- and I think this is something that the sponsors clearly and perhaps intentionally overlooked today -- the fact is that it is spelled out quite clearly in recent budgets that long-term planning was an integral part of the budgetary process."
Given the government is already doing those things, one wonders how they might improve on it. We look forward to some elaboration on that particular little sentence that was put in on page seven of the throne speech that the Ontario government will bring in measures "to strengthen the management of the province's affairs."
I am curious as to whether they might be going to go back to the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) and revive his sunset theme and a few of the refinements on it and try to bring that back to us in this Legislature.
Moving on, the government says on the next page of its throne speech: "In the coming year, the government will continue to set priorities and co-ordinate economic initiatives to ensure that our province is able to take full advantage of the many resource and technological opportunities that will be available in the future."
The resource opportunities in northern Ontario are there in such abundance we would hope this particular reference would address itself to northern Ontario. But when one considers the north in this throne speech, one has to look through three or four times to find anything much more significant than the implication there, and the statement in the later paragraph that it will provide "assistance to single-industry communities in northern Ontario."
If the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), who has been here longer than I and who has a much closer connection with the north, had a dollar for every time he has heard a promise such as that he could walk out of here a rather rich man. What we are hoping for and, more importantly, what the people of northern Ontario are hoping for is some substance to these promises. These things could be considered as hollow statements, because we have found in throne speeches, as I referred to in my very opening comment, for the last 10 or 12 years, hollow promises and promises unfulfilled.
I want to move on to the middle part of this particular speech and get into pages 12 and 13 where there is some reference made to the farm community. The member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) has alluded to the statements here that address themselves to the farm community. But the government cannot forget, again the member for Huron-Middlesex made a point of this today. that insofar as agriculture and the farming community is concerned the Liberal Party over the years, even though we have not been the government, has played an extremely viable role. The suggestions made by our critics over the years have, I am sure, immeasurably helped many of the government programs.
I want to commend our member for Huron- Middlesex for the work he has done and remind the government that no matter what it is thinking or planning in the agricultural community, it had better be cognizant of the contribution that can be made by members from the opposition.
Given the time press we have here, I would like to address myself to one or two themes that have been ignored in this throne speech, rather than reviewing in the last few pages other themes such as French language, etc.
When I turned on the radio this morning I was interested to hear the comments made by our Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor). who expressed some concern and considerable surprise in a radio interview that a video tape he had picked up on the weekend and taken home for his family contained language that was rather abrasive and I assume it contained things other than language that could be visually offensive particularly to young people.
I note with some concern that the government's throne speech does not address itself to anything that could be described in general terms as a moral issue. I am sorry to say this, because on occasion we have had at least committee discussions -- no great discussions in chamber, but at least committee discussions -- about such things as the censorship process and the censorship board here in Ontario.
Given the climate and given the concern that a considerable number of people have about such things as video tapes, movies that are available on cable, and pornography, whose availability in our variety stores is expanding, the government is missing a golden opportunity if it does not address itself to what I consider to be a very serious moral issue. They have not done that. They are choosing to ignore and I would submit, to ignore with impunity this real problem that we have in our province.
Beyond that there are other things that have cropped up from time to time in the past year that could have been addressed in this throne speech, but, for whatever reasons, the government has chosen to present a rather brief, rather vague blueprint of its plan for the coming year.
One of our judges suggested, for example, regarding some of the problems that appear in our courts dealing with family breakup, that marriage as a theme could b presented in the school system. There are some people who have disagreed with that editorially and otherwise, and yet there are some who agree with it. The government again has missed the opportunity at least to put the subject on the table for some discussion.
Why would the government shy away from addressing itself to things that are of serious concern to the people of this province? The government, in my view, has a mandate to address itself to something more than putting pavement on roads and dollars into school boards to run their schools. I think it needs to play a greater leadership role in areas such as I have described: the concern over pornography, broken homes, marriage courses, etc.
Another theme that has appeared in the pages of our press and in radio and television reports over the last month or two -- and I was surprised that no reference was made to this in the throne speech -- is the condition of the jails in Ontario. Take a look through the Ontario Public Service Employees Union press release of February 15, which talks about the explosive situation in provincial jails. Why have we not addressed ourselves to that theme in this throne speech?
Going back to education, the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson indicated at one point that she wanted to study the impact of metric on the school system. Why was no mention made of that?
I could go on with literally hundreds of themes that were missed, but I will conclude my remarks, given the time, by submitting that the throne speech is very shallow. We hope that when we see the budget we will find more evidence of this government's concern about the economy and about the citizens of Ontario.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the debate was adjourned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to indicate the business of the House for the remainder of this week and next.
Tonight and tomorrow we will continue with the throne speech debate. Next Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon and evening, May 2 and 3, we will also continue with the throne speech debate. On Wednesday morning the usual three committees may meet. On Thursday, May 5, we will have the windup of the throne speech debate in the afternoon with the vote at 5:45 p.m. and the time will be divided amongst the three windup speakers.
Next Thursday evening we will deal with the following legislation: Committee of the whole on Bill 7, the Toronto Futures Exchange Act, and then second reading of Bills 3, 4, 5, 13 and 2. Consideration of that legislation will continue on the morning of Friday, May 6.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.