The House met at 10 a.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
SPECIAL SERVICES AT HOME PROGRAM
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to have the opportunity to bring the honourable members up to date on the outstanding success of the special services at home program of my ministry.
When I spoke to the standing committee on social development a year ago, I told them my ministry was initiating a program of support services and special equipment to assist parents with developmentally handicapped children to care for their children in their own homes.
I am proud to say that not only have we developed a unique program, exciting in many ways, but also we have been able to take it directly to the parents and the children. In only six months my ministry staff has consulted with the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded, the local associations, other agencies and interested community groups. We have developed guidelines and a manual of operation, carried out a province-wide community education program and committed $1.5 million to this program.
To date, 870 applications for assistance have been approved. In total, 881 children and their families have been provided with services ranging from parent relief workers to specialists in behavioural management. The special services program has also provided equipment such as bath lifts, educational computers and hearing aids.
All this has led to some extremely encouraging response from the community. I might add that the media have also commended the government for providing services currently not available from any other source.
Let me give the members some examples of how this program has helped the people of this province.
In Cornwall, Peter and Nancy Amell have told us that special services at home were the key in keeping their family together. Funding to hire a specialist to work with their three-year-old blind and quadriplegic child allowed the Amells relief from hours of constant anxiety and concern. It has also given them more time to attend to the needs of their other child.
The Rogers family in Mississauga also know the stress and tension of having a 13-year-old arthritic child who suffers from severe tuberous sclerosis, leaving her mentally disabled. This program made it possible for them to purchase a whirlpool so that the child could receive the necessary therapy and relief from discomfort in her own home.
The Edwards family in St. Catharines told a newspaper reporter that the special services program was a life-saver. It strengthened their determination to help their two-year-old son, who is blind, deaf and suffering from a rare kidney disease, to succeed in developing a future. With special indoor playground and gymnastics equipment for physical stimulation, brightly coloured to improve his visual senses, and a tiny radio-like box complete with hearing aids, Trevor now is able to explore the world around him. It has also given him the ability to distinguish voices and to develop to the level of his peers.
In Gravenhurst, doctors told the Dolmage family that their multihandicapped child would not survive infancy. That was eight years ago. Now, thanks to the special services program, a teaching assistant instructs Matthew in the use of a simple computer, and he is learning to read and communicate. He attends a school for developmentally handicapped children.
Let me emphasize, in keeping with the concept of collaboration, that the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded and my ministry staff have co-operated in consulting with the private sector as well as various community groups and agencies on the purchase and use of special equipment. Throughout the province, more than 200 public presentations have taken place since last October, and more than 1,000 inquiries about the program have been received.
Besides what has already been done to improve the delivery of services to children in this province, I am pleased to announce that my ministry will expand its spending to ensure that this program continues to flourish and provide the necessary assistance for Ontario families.
The special services program provides a comprehensive range of services to assist parents of developmentally handicapped children in strengthening the natural bond of love and care with their children while in their own homes. We are showing the families of 881 developmentally handicapped children that the community admires them for the work they are doing and deeply cares.
Everyone recognizes that parents of these children have accepted the responsibilities even though it means assuming a very heavy burden. This program is a further commitment by my ministry and this government to community living for the developmentally handicapped.
TAX GRANTS FOR SENIORS
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce to the honourable members that today the Ministry of Revenue is mailing some 554,000 interim Ontario tax grant cheques totalling nearly 5145 million to eligible senior citizens throughout the province. These cheques are combined payments of 1983 --
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, it is great that this is such an excellent program that it disturbs the members opposite to some great degree. It is only when a program is well received by the public that they get upset.
These cheques are combined payments of 1983 interim property tax grants and temporary home heating grants. The interim property tax grant portion of the cheque is calculated as 50 per cent of the senior's 1982 property tax grant, to a maximum of $250. To that amount is added the temporary home heating grant, which this year equals $40 per household. The maximum possible value of each cheque is therefore $290, while the average cheque is $260.96.
As members will be aware, the mailing of these interim cheques marks the beginning of the 1983 Ontario tax grants for seniors program cycle. In September, seniors throughout the province will receive an application form which will determine the amount of the second instalment of their 1983 grant. Seniors who turned 65 after December 31, 1982, will not be receiving the interim or first instalment of the 1983 grant. However, they will receive an application form this fall and may apply for the full 1983 grant at that time.
I would like to point out to the members that once again the mailing of these interim grant cheques is being supported by a full range of public information measures, including advertisements in daily, weekly and ethnic newspapers and the mailing of bulletins and comprehensive information kits to all constituency offices and other key government outlets such as northern affairs offices and community information centres.
In the past these information kits have proven an important resource for staff in these offices who provide valuable support to the tax grants program through their inquiry and referral services. I know the Ministry of Revenue can rely on the continued co-operation and assistance of these offices and their staffs in the successful administration of our 1983 tax grants for seniors program.
Mr. Sargent: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: My point of privilege is in the interest of both myself and thousands of other Ontario citizens who are charged by an officer of the law or a court official, who go through the court system and pay their debt to society. Yet we have a Citizen Kane like Conrad Black who is above the law, who can call up the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and get a private appointment with him to ease the pain of --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I have to ask the honourable member to resume his seat. He may question the appropriate minister during the question period.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, my rights as a citizen are being trampled on --
Mr. Speaker: All right. You are absolutely right as a citizen, but the only privileges you have the right to bring up in this House are your privileges as a member, which are over and above the privileges enjoyed by anybody else. I would have to say that you are out of order.
Mr. Sargent: I have a message I want to give to the House.
Mr. Speaker: You can give the message at a more appropriate time perhaps.
Mr. Sargent: Like when?
Mr. Speaker: During oral questions.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce that an arrangement has been made to provide for the orderly administration of the assets of Seaway Trust Co. and the payment of its liabilities as they come due.
The assets of the company have been in the possession and control of the registrar of the Loan and Trust Corporations Act since January 7. With the finalization of an agreement, the registrar will relinquish control and as of this morning, April 29, restrictions on withdrawals have been lifted for Seaway depositors except for certain depositors against whom Seaway may have legitimate claims.
Separate agreements have been reached between Seaway Trust, its subsidiary Seaway Mortgage Corp., the Midland Bank Canada, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. and the registrar. As a result, the effective control of Seaway Trust and Seaway Mortgage will be exercised by nominees of the Midland Bank Canada to carry out the management of Seaway's assets and the payment of its liabilities. Honourable members no doubt will recall that the assets of Seaway Mortgage have been in the possession and control of the federal government since January 7, 1983.
Under the terms of the agreements, neither Seaway Trust nor Seaway Mortgage will accept new deposits or make new investments except those incidental to the management of their assets. As the Touche Ross reports tabled in this House last week clearly indicated, the state of Seaway Trust's finances are such that the only alternative to this kind of arrangement would be the winding up and liquidation of the firm. Such action would have been detrimental to the realization on the assets, which in turn would impact negatively on depositors, creditors and shareholders. A similar situation exists in Seaway Mortgage.
As a result of this arrangement, as of today, depositors are able to receive return of their deposits or investment certificates in full as they mature or come due.
I want to emphasize that this is not a sale involving an exchange of funds. Control of Seaway Trust and its subsidiary Seaway Mortgage is being exercised by Midland Bank Canada, which will proceed to wind down the firms over about a five-year period. Seaway's staff and offices will be reduced to an appropriate level.
A five-person board of directors has been appointed, with André L. Morissette as president and chairman of the board. Mr. Morissette is currently president of Les Enterprises Pimori Inc., a Montreal-based real estate development company. and brings to his new position at Seaway a wealth of experience in the finance and banking field. The other four directors are senior officers of Midland Bank Canada.
Under the arrangements that have been made, Midland hopes to be able to reduce its own losses on a loan made by it to the numbered holding company which held the majority of the shares of Seaway Trust. The loan was secured by shares in Seaway Trust and by other assets. As a result of this relationship, Midland was seen by the registrar and the CDIC as being uniquely positioned to control and operate Seaway. Furthermore, Midland has the capacity to do so.
Midland Bank Canada is the Canadian subsidiary of the Midland Bank Group of Britain, one of the largest banking organizations in the world. The administration agreement with Midland will remain in effect as long as any deposit liabilities of Seaway remain outstanding and any amounts are still owed to CDIC.
To ensure liabilities will be met as they fall due, CDIC will provide for funds to be made available to either company as may be necessary. CDIC's financial support is based on its authority to make or guarantee loans or advances to a member deposit-taking institution when such support will reduce or avert a potential loss to CDIC.
CDIC's potential liability was made even larger by the royal assent this week of federal legislation to increase the level of deposit insurance provided from $20,000 to $60,000.
It should be clearly understood that under the terms of the agreements all depositors, all holders of guaranteed investment certificates and all holders of debentures other than those that have been designated will be paid in full when their security matures. Any moneys realized from the assets of the companies during the course of the agreement will be used to cover liabilities and repay as much of CDIC's advances as possible. Any surplus after such liabilities have been met will be turned over to the common and preferred shareholders. The major preferred shareholder is Midland Bank Canada.
Although the registrar is a party to some of these agreements, there are others that are made solely between the private sector parties. I am exploring with these parties the extent to which they will consent to the tabling of these agreements. I would like to provide the House with as much information as possible, and I will table copies of any of the agreements that can be publicly released.
NORCEN ENERGY RESOURCES LTD.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Attorney General with respect to the Norcen affair. It has become obvious that there has been a great deal of confusion through public reports and in a variety of other places about the difference of opinion, apparently, between the Attorney General and the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie), who has the power under, I believe, section 119 of the Securities Act to go ahead with proceedings in the matter.
Could the Attorney General explain to this House why he did not ask the minister directly for his consent to proceed with charges in this matter?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I think I have said on numerous occasions in relation to this. It is our view, the view of myself and my ministry officials, that it is clear the securities legislation obviously requires the consent of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, and for that reason there can be no doubt that there is a significant degree of prosecutorial discretion built into the legislation.
Basically, I am repeating what the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations said yesterday, because I happen to agree with his statement.
When the Leader of the Opposition refers to differences of opinion, I can assure him those differences of opinion do not exist. I think it is quite clear that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations must give very serious consideration to the advice he gets from the Ontario Securities Commission, which I think all members of this House agree is not only an independent body but also a body made up of distinguished members of the community who are obviously dedicated to acting in the public interest.
Our law officers were of the view that there was an evidentiary base for a prosecution under the securities legislation, and for that reason I asked the minister to have the commission reconsider its decision.
At the same time, I recognized the fact that the securities commission was in a better position than we were to make a judgement in relation to what was in the best interest of regulating the securities industry, and that, of course, would be consistent with what is the public interest.
While we had certain views with respect to the evidentiary base, we would recognize the primary role of the securities commission to advise the minister as to how he should or should not apply the prosecutorial discretion.
As the honourable member knows, there are relatively few pieces of legislation that require the actual consent of the minister who has the responsibility for administering the act; in the Criminal Code there are several sections that require the consent of the Attorney General before a prosecution can proceed, for example.
The reason this consent is required is that it is recognized that this prosecutorial discretion has to be exercised in cases where there may be a prima facie breach of the legislation. But that in itself does not necessarily mean a prosecution will follow; it depends on the public interest.
It is quite clear to me that the securities legislation is constructed in such a way as to give the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations that responsibility, and in my view he should reject the recommendations of the Ontario Securities Commission only if there are very compelling reasons for doing so.
I saw no such compelling reasons for him to reject its advice, but I certainly thought there was reason for him to ask the commission to reconsider the matter, as it did; and I thought, given the unusual circumstances surrounding this matter, it was also in the securities commission's interest to issue some reasons, as it has done.
I think the commission has attempted to address the matter to the extent that it can -- of course, bearing in mind, as we all must, that there is still a criminal investigation into this matter and that we simply have not reached any conclusions with respect to that investigation.
Mr. Peterson: Ultimately, the Attorney General is charged with the administration of justice in this province. It is obvious from the public pronouncement that he and his staff have had a different view of the situation. It is obvious that he has asked the minister to make the report public and that he has refused to do so --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, I have not.
Mr. Peterson: Well, that is according to press reports. That may or may not be correct, and he can stand up in this House and deny it. But it is obvious that there is a great deal of bad faith, and even though the minister has made a decision to go no further with this matter, the Attorney General is continuing with his police reports and continuing to cloud the reputation of people and to again --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: You are so irresponsible.
Mr. Peterson: This is obviously the case, and there are so many economic interests at stake.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: I want to ask the minister about this letter that was addressed to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, dated April 27 and signed by one Mr. Peter Dey. It says:
"Dear Dr. Elgie:
"I am writing this further letter separately from my letter dated April 26, 1983, which I have suggested be tabled in the Legislature, because this letter deals with an issue which you may wish to discuss privately with the Attorney General.
"The commission's review of the staff report only became a matter of public information when the contents of the staff report were improperly provided to the media. The commission has questioned its own staff and it is satisfied that its staff was not the source of the information provided to the media. The commission would like to suggest to you that you request the Attorney General to initiate similar inquiries of his staff.
"The commission remains anxious to co-operate with the Attorney General in parallel investigations, but in doing so the commission must be assured that the confidentiality of its investigations is respected. The commission does not at the present time have this assurance."
The commission does not trust the minister or what he is doing; there is obviously a bad relationship. How does he explain the hunt he is on, as opposed to the difference of opinion the commission has?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: First of all, I would be interested if the Leader of the Opposition would clarify the statement that was part of his supplementary question. He seems to be suggesting that I should direct the police to cease their criminal investigation. Is that what he is suggesting? I would like to have that clarified, because certainly that is the inference I take from his question.
He is saying that reputations are being unnecessarily clouded, notwithstanding the fact that he seems to think I should require the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations to consent to the prosecution. On one hand, he seems to be criticizing me for not making that direct request. On the other hand, he is accusing us of unnecessarily clouding reputations. I suggest that he examine some of his own statements, examine his own conscience and determine whether he is acting in a most irresponsible fashion.
The simple fact of the matter is that I am not going to direct the police to stop their investigation. I have confidence that the Metropolitan Toronto Police will conclude its investigation when it thinks it is appropriate, and certain recommendations will be made at that time.
Despite any views the member may have on the matter, I am not going to interfere with that process. I am not going to interfere with the integrity of the administration of justice to the extent that he suggests and attempts to do on a day-to-day basis.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, relating back to the first question by the Leader of the Opposition, the main question this morning, and the introduction by the Attorney General into his answer of the term "prosecutorial discretion," which he used a few days ago on the Metro Morning program, I want to ask the minister to clarify for me, if he can, whether he believes there is any prosecutorial discretion conferred by the Securities Act on the commission.
I also want to ask the Attorney General whether he believes the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations ever exercised any prosecutorial discretion, having regard to the very clear statement by the commission that the unanimous decision of the commission was not to recommend a prosecution under the act.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I repeat what I have said on numerous occasions. As I read the legislation, clearly the prosecutorial discretion lies with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. The honourable member knows that is so. That is why the legislation requires the minister's consent.
It is very clear that the advisory role of the commission is very important and very vital in assisting the minister in the manner in which he should exercise that very important discretion. That is clear to me and I know it is clear to the member, unless he is again playing the little games he likes to play from time to time to cloud important issues unnecessarily.
Mr. Peterson: The Attorney General chose not to address some of the very substantial questions raised in a letter from one Mr. Dey to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations which, when one cuts it all down, shows that he does not have very much faith in the Attorney General and/or his investigation. There are selective leaks going on at various times that are in contravention of the decision the minister has made. I would ask the Attorney General to address that question.
Would the minister not agree with me that there are a myriad of questions still outstanding, such as his own role with respect to the crown attorney Mr. Johnston; his own apparent shift of position on this whole matter; his own obvious displeasure in not having full disclosure of the investigator's report of the OSC, only getting a selective report; his own opinion on this whole matter and his staff's opinion, which is different from the securities commission's?
Given all the economic interests that are at stake here, given the reputations that are at stake, given the question of the administration of justice which has again been clouded, and the minister is well aware that again another in a long series of questions has been raised about the quality of the administration of justice in this province, surely we should have an independent probe into this whole matter to get the thing cleared up.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: With regard to the views of the Leader of the Opposition with respect to the administration of justice and independent probes, this is about the 50th time he has suggested an independent probe at the same time as there is an independent inquiry and a police investigation going on.
I wonder when he is going to come to grips with some of the basic and fundamental principles of the justice system, one of which is that we do not have public inquiries at the same time as we have police investigations. That is pretty basic to most first-year law students, at the very least. I think he might start to --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I really think the hypocrisy the Leader of the Opposition demonstrates on a day-to-day basis in the manner in which he attempts to address these issues -- he just has no respect.
Mr. Speaker: I ask the Attorney General to withdraw the use of that word "hypocrisy."
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I will, at your request, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you. I think that was a complete answer. We have spent 14 minutes on the first question.
SECURITY AT HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. It relates to a statement he made while answering in the House yesterday.
I will quote for his ready reference: "I would report to the honourable member that all of the measures in place as of this week, before the 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.
Last January 28, the minister will recall the Dubin report urged the creation of appropriate systems that would have required "identification of all hospital personnel and visitors." Could the minister tell this House when those security requirements were implemented for personnel and, more important, for visitors with respect to the cardiac ward?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, with regard to all employees at the hospital, that has been in place for some time. With regard to parents and visitors in the cardiac ward, that was put in place just this past weekend as one of the extra security measures.
Mr. Peterson: Could the minister explain to this House how, as I understand it, a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. researcher gained access to the hospital yesterday? I am told the sequence of events went something like this. The person went to the cardiac ward, talked for some time with the security guard there, asked for access, had to sign his name and no identification was required.
I am told he signed his name, gave the name of a fictitious baby patient in the ward to go to visit, was granted ready access and walked about the ward. There was no one at the nursing station. He was able to look into various rooms. There was no one there attending to the various children. He meandered about for 10 minutes or so and then walked out.
I am told that happened yesterday. Is the minister aware of that? Is that the kind of security systems the minister has in place to prevent that kind of thing?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the honourable member wants to draw certain conclusions based on that series of events to suggest that in his opinion the security measures in place on wards 4A and 4B are inadequate, perhaps he ought to say so without making an inference, if that is the case. Let me say --
Mr. Breithaupt: That is a pretty fair conclusion.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, but I am quite prepared to say on the other side of that case that the security measures the hospital has in place, particularly on 4A and 4B, are quite sufficient. The fact that someone was down there and was able to hand in his or her name and get certain access under certain terms and conditions does not mean the security is inadequate.
It means the hospital has certain backup measures, which the member and I know should not be disclosed. It should not be taken to mean the hospital was unaware of the circumstances, that access is available to those children or that all the perceptions which he understands that particular person has are necessarily accurate.
Perceptions -- the way it may appear to someone attempting to do that sort of thing -- are not entirely in line with reality. The hospital knows well what is under way in 4A and 4B; and in point of fact, with regard to the recommendations they have received from the Centers for Disease Control and from Dubin regarding 4A and 4B. there is hardly anything left undone with respect to security in those particular areas as of today.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, did I correctly understand the minister to say that the physical security measures with respect to parents and visitors as recommended by Mr. Justice Dubin were not put into effect until Saturday? If that is in fact what he said, can he explain why it took that length of time for those measures to be put into effect? Also, would the minister be prepared to present to the House some indication of the history of security measures as they have been implemented at the Hospital for Sick Children since March 19tl'
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Minister, you may pick any one of those three.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, may I say only that the hospital, in consultation with experts in the field, is reviewing and has been reviewing for some time the appropriate security measures to take. The fact is that up until a few days ago they had not decided to go the route of having each and every parent and each and every visitor in the hospital or in 4A and 4B get his picture taken and be tagged as he walked through the hospital. That would be a dramatic change in the way this hospital and most hospitals in North America are run. It is partly a question of whether they are going to change the atmosphere and make the operation into one that apparently looks like an armed fortress.
A decision made in the interim on the identification of staff, that everyone who is walking around with a lab coat or a white coat of any nature in a hospital should be properly identified, has been in place for some time. The question came down to a situation of whether the one million parents and visitors who come to the hospital every year should go through the process of having their pictures taken and identification put on.
In the meantime, the hospital has adopted other security measures that they and most experts feel are adequate in the circumstances. They may want to reassess that at some stage; at the moment they and most experts in the field see no reason to reassess that decision. They are still looking at it.
In the meantime, with the circumstances of last weekend and in yet another attempt to reassure the public, they have decided for the time being to go to that particular system with regard to 4A and 4B. I think when one considers the circumstances of the hospital, the extraordinary expense all of that involves, and, more dramatically, what it would do to the whole nature of the hospital, and puts that against the extraordinary security measures they have taken in lieu of going that particular route, I think one would find that is an appropriate, reasonable and safe choice that the hospital has made.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, there is no one in this House who does not want to restore the reputation of that hospital; we even respect the minister's right to have a secret security system and not even share the details of it with the members of this House and members of the public. But clearly it is not working: that is the point. The point is that if this researcher, unnamed, can get in and meander about, walk about the way he did yesterday, I am told, then surely that should tell the minister it is not working.
What we are asking him for are assurances that it is working; and so far, with great respect, apart from the minister's pious speeches we have not had those assurances. I am asking him now for some results, not just more speeches.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member said clearly he has not had that assurance, and he has. He has had that assurance from me, he has had it from the hospital and he has had it from Dubin and his people and from CDC and their people, who have said, "If you do certain things, that will be in place."
May I say, with respect, that it is a little unfortunate for the member to stand up and say he shares with everyone else the need to maintain confidence in the hospital and to have reasonable responses out there and then to go on and say in his very next sentence that clearly the security is not adequate. I wrote it down as he said it. "Clearly it is not working," he said.
The member cannot really stand there and say he wants to share and show some leadership and public responsibility in trying to maintain public confidence in the institution, and then stand up on the basis of a radio report and determine that he, as Leader of the Opposition, is prepared to say that clearly the security measures are not working.
Has the member called the hospital? Has he asked them to walk him through all the incidents that happened with regard to that particular reporter? Has he had or have his researchers had an interview with the administrator of the hospital to determine whether there is an explanation for what happened yesterday? Has he asked them whether they have backup steps in place so that they were aware of what happened? Has he done all that before he found it within his power to stand up in this House and announce to the public that the security measures are not working?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member has a sense of responsibility. I think he ought to discharge it.
Mr. Rae: The minister is obviously preparing for a long role in opposition with all those questions he has been asking. I wish him well.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I am very anxious to keep the House fully informed about any developments with regard to our continuing review to ensure safety at the Hospital for Sick Children. I am somewhat relieved to be able to report to the House that once again we have acquired the services of Dr. Hugh McDonald, who was one of the members of the Dubin inquiry, to come back and undertake what I call a "recertification" process at the Hospital for Sick Children, pursuant to the statement I made yesterday.
Dr. McDonald is the administrator of St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. As well as being an administrator, he is assistant clinical professor of the department of health care and epidemiology at the University of British Columbia. I anticipate and hope, having spoken with Dr. McDonald yesterday, that his analysis re recertification and review might be as short as two or three weeks, presuming all goes well. Dr. McDonald expressed to me yesterday his total confidence in the Hospital for Sick Children and his desire to do anything necessary to help maintain confidence in that great institution.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the same minister. It concerns extra billing.
I would like to ask him whether he stands by the remarks he made in this House on April 21 when he said, in referring to extra billing, "The benefit of it is that the better-off in society pay the freight." Later on in the exchange he said it is the rich in society who are extra-billed. Does the minister stand by those remarks?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, no doubt the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) has more judgement than the leader of the third party. He would not ask that sort of question.
Mr. McClellan: That is because he supports extra billing.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, he does. What the leader of the third party is no doubt about to do is stand up and read me a name and ask me if I am aware of Mr., Mrs. or Ms So-and-so who was asked to pay X dollars last week by physician Y in such-and-such circumstances.
As happens on Johnny Carson some nights, let me give him the answer to that question before it is asked. The answer to that question is no, I am not aware of that particular case. When the member draws it to my attention, I will take that forward.
The whole principle is as I outlined it last week. To the extent that principle is being violated by one or two of the 14,000 physicians in this province, then I should like to be aware of that and so would the Ontario Medical Association, because it is prepared to take appropriate action in that circumstance. Now, open the envelope.
Mr. Rae: Given the fact that the minister did not answer the question I put to him, I would like to put to him as a supplementary question the statements he made with respect to the better-off in society paying the freight and the rich in society being the ones who are extra-billed and compare those with the fact that a retired Chrysler worker in Windsor by the name of Aurèle Drouillard was asked to pay --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: How did I guess?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: This man has received bills. The minister can laugh at extra billing. It may be a laughing matter for him but it is not a laughing matter for Aurèle Drouillard, who has $690 a month. It is not a laughing matter for a person on $690 a month.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member for York South please place his question?
Mr. Rae: I would simply like to ask the minister how he can put the kinds of fatuous remarks that he made a couple of days ago with respect to extra billing and the wealthy in society paying those extra bills, considering the fact that this gentleman has to pay $600, or 65 per cent above the Ontario health insurance plan, for two operations in the past nine months to two specialists, one an ophthalmologist and one an anaesthetist?
How can he possibly justify that kind of contradiction when he makes these fatuous remarks about the wealthy having to pay, when the evidence is overwhelming in this instance and in many other instances that it is ordinary people -- in this case a retired Chrysler worker who is living on $694 net per month -- who are paying the freight, and not the better-off as the minister would have us so fatuously believe?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would not want to suggest that the member is engaging in hyperbole when he suggests that the evidence is overwhelming. What he has done is bring me one example of the 60 million services that are rendered each year through OHIP. Perhaps in the member's view that one circumstance out of more than 60 million is overwhelming evidence.
May I say that in terms of running a workable system -- as I said when I spoke on this matter in the House last week and I said today, and the member's Health critic has heard me say it before -- out of 60 million services, 14,000 doctors, 2,000 opted-out doctors, there are going to be some who occasionally are billing people they should not bill. The people who put that proposition know very well, or should know very well, that they ought to be calling the Ontario Medical Association through the number --
Mr. McClellan: Tell them to save their dime.
Mr. Rae: Save their money.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, of course. I may be convinced that the members opposite do need more researchers. Have the members taken a moment to call the OMA to ask how many calls it gets per month on that number? Have they? No, they have not called the OMA and asked, because they do not want the answer. The number is often used.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, does the minister not recall the commitment made by several of his predecessors that specialists would accept the Ontario health insurance plan rates in all public hospitals -- at least they would guarantee that one or more specialists in each area would accept the OHIP rate? Has he abandoned that concept and can he not use that in his discussions with the OMA to ensure that the basic services are available in all public hospitals?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, Mr. Speaker, in point of fact that is what I was referring to here. Three or four years ago, after discussions with the government, the OMA put in place a toll-free number for all residents of Ontario who might call when they require or want the services of an opted-in doctor or an opted-out doctor on an opted-in basis in any public general hospital in the province. As a result, they are now getting -- to save the members a phone call -- 200 to 300 calls per month from people who are taking them up on that service.
Mr. Nixon: The commitment was that the service would be available across the province.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: They have just centralized the service so that the OMA gets the call and will then call back into that area and arrange for an opted-in doctor to undertake that activity, or in the absence of that, get an opted-out physician to provide the services at opted-in rates.
When one looks across the province one finds that fully one third of all opting out and extra billing is confined to three categories in Metropolitan Toronto. They comprise one third of all opted-out physicians. That would indicate that province-wide we do not have much of a problem and inside Metropolitan Toronto there is such a variety of alternatives that this should not present much of a barrier either. It should not present any barrier at all.
In any case, the shorter answer to the question is yes, the OMA offers that service; yes, it is used by approximately 3,000 people a year; yes, it seems to be working well; no, I am not satisfied that it is 100 per cent effective.
Mr. Rae: The minister is just amazingly out of touch with what the reality is for a great many people who have to go to specialists in this province. That reality is that, regardless of their means and regardless of their income, they are being presented with additional bills.
How can the minister talk about universal access when the evidence shows that for anaesthetists, for example, in Grey county 100 per cent opted out; in Middlesex county, where this example comes from, 98 per cent opted out; in Nipissing 100 per cent opted out, and in Toronto-East York 100 per cent opted out?
How can the minister say the problem is simply confined to one particular area of the province when the evidence is absolutely overwhelming that with respect to several specialists all across this province they are opted out and the practice of extra billing is one that is on the increase?
The kind of justification he has given in this House for extra billing, which bears no relationship to the facts, no relationship to what is really going on in the world of this province, is only encouraging the practice and encouraging the destruction of the universal health care system in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Might I say that the member has neglected to indicate -- I do not have the figures with me, surprisingly, but I do not know how many anaesthetists there are in Grey county. How many are there? Two? Are there two?
Mr. Rae: Does it matter how many there are?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It does matter how many there are.
Mr. Speaker: Will the minister just answer the question please?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The fact is the member wants to say that 100 per cent of the anaesthetists in Grey county are opted out. I suspect there are one or two. I could be wrong. I would suggest in those circumstances the perception he wants to raise, that 100 per cent are opted out, would be perhaps more fairly presented by him if he said one or two or three anaesthetists in Grey county are all opted out, but I suspect that if I inquire -- which I will do -- we will discover they are very often providing their services on an opted-in basis.
The member wants to present the spectre, through glib statistics, that we have a system that is not accessible in Grey county. In point of fact, if he wanted to be fair and balanced to present the argument, which still leaves him lots of room to manoeuvre on this issue, he would do so in that context.
Yes, there may be 100 per cent opted out in Grey county but to suggest that means there are no opted-in services rendered in anaesthesia in Grey county is, with respect, an enormous distortion and the member knows it is. He should present the case fairly.
NORCEN ENERGY RESOURCES LTD.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I would like to return to the Attorney General on the question of Norcen Energy Resources Ltd., Conrad Black and Edward Battle with respect to the Ontario Securities Commission.
When the Attorney General reviews his association with this case from the ill-advised meeting he had in May 1982, as recorded in Hansard of December 15 with respect to the questions I raised at that time, when he takes into consideration the flurry of activity which then took place within his ministry, when he considers the efforts to have a joint investigation of the OSC and the Metropolitan Toronto Police fraud squad into this matter in an orderly way, when he asked his colleague at the last minute to allow officers from his ministry to meet with the commission in order to try to persuade the commission that there was an evidentiary case to be put and decided in the court, and finally when he culminated that by requesting publicly that the securities commission give reasons for its decision but would not join with that a request that the report of the investigation be made public, has he not now so completely compromised the police investigation into this matter that the matter should be brought to an end by him as the Attorney General?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the simple answer to that is no, but I am not going to leave it at that. Since the member has invited me to indulge in some history, I think it would be appropriate that we do so.
First of all, as the member recalls, the original meeting with Mr. Black and his lawyers was a result of an allegation that was made that some unnamed person within the Ministry of the Attorney General was interfering directly in a very major civil lawsuit that had reached a very critical stage in Cleveland, Ohio; namely, as we all know, the lawsuit with respect to the attempted takeover of Hanna by Norcen.
The allegation was not correct, but there were certain disturbing facts surrounding the allegation. The judge who was trying the case in Cleveland at this very critical stage of the proceedings took what I consider to be not only an unusual step but an initiative which would have been totally unacceptable in the Canadian context. He phoned a relatively junior lawyer in the Ministry of the Attorney General who, without my knowledge or indeed the knowledge of any other members of the ministry, had been advising the Metropolitan Toronto Police department.
So first of all, I have to concede that Mr. Black's solicitors might well be concerned with the fact that a judge, at a critical stage in a civil case, phoned a lawyer in another jurisdiction to make inquiries about a criminal investigation involving principals in this litigation when he was about to make findings of credibility with respect to the same principals. Obviously that is a situation which was without precedent and certainly one which would alarm any lawyers who were advising clients in these circumstances.
In my view, the meeting to deal with this issue was not ill-advised. It is true that had I or the Deputy Attorney General or the director of the criminal law division or the director of the crown law office, criminal, or the director of the crown attorneys or any of these individuals been aware there was a criminal investigation going on, the meeting would probably have taken a different format, but we would still have had to address that very serious issue of a judge in Cleveland talking to one of our lawyers about a criminal investigation just before he is going to have to make a very important decision. As history records, in the decision he made he had some rather unkind things to say about these very principals.
The ongoing police investigation was quite separate from any investigation that was being undertaken by the securities investigators. I think Mr. Dey's letter to the minister records the fact that there had been a complaint made to the commission about this which had something to do with the initiation of the investigation. I also believe that probably some of the Metropolitan Toronto Police advised the commission as well that this might be a matter that would be of interest to them.
The next flurry of activity involved decisions that were made by the director of the criminal law division, now the Deputy Solicitor General, Rod McLeod, whose integrity the member will fully appreciate is beyond reproach, and by Howard Morton as director of the crown law office, criminal. These two gentlemen are both well known to the member for Riverdale. I am sure he would be the first to agree their integrity is beyond question and above reproach.
They made the decision -- it had nothing to do with me -- that more senior counsel experienced in criminal law were necessary to deal with some of the admitted complexities of this case. It is unfortunate that some rather irresponsible innuendo, to put it mildly, has been bruited about because of the change in counsel. That decision was made, as the member knows, by two --
Mr. Ruston: Time.
Mr. Conway: Four minutes.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am sorry. I realize this question is --
Mr. Speaker: I realize the importance of it, but I think we must get on and ask the member to put a supplementary.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In his question, the member for Riverdale has really touched on the whole history of the matter.
Mr. Speaker: I understand that, but it may be more properly dealt with through a statement if you wish.
Mr. Renwick: Is it not now true that the police role in the investigation of this matter -- that is, the investigation by the Metropolitan Toronto Police fraud squad -- is complete and that the matter is now in the hands of the Attorney General's ministry with respect to the questions of the advice to be given as to whether charges will or will not be laid under the Criminal Code?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The last information I had at the beginning of the week with respect to the state of the police investigation was that it had not been concluded.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, are there still bad relationships between the police, the Attorney General's staff and the securities commission, as evidenced in Mr. Dey's letter to the minister? What is he going to do as chief law officer of the crown to try to restore some relationships in this whole network that is charged with the administration of justice and preventing securities violations?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: First, Mr. Speaker, it is totally inaccurate to characterize the relationships between any of these bodies -- my ministry, the police or the securities commission -- as being bad.
Obviously the securities commission is concerned about the release of what it properly regards as a confidential report. As the chairman has pointed out, it would be very difficult for the commission members to conduct investigations credibly in the future unless they can give the industry assurance of the confidentiality that is so critical to their investigations. Obviously they are concerned about how the report got out. Apparently they have satisfied themselves it did not happen in their own offices.
Obviously we also were concerned about how that was leaked and I have been assured by the Deputy Attorney General that he believes it could not have happened in the Ministry of the Attorney General.
I am not surprised by Mr. Dey's concern about the leak of what has to be treated as a confidential document. Obviously he wonders whether somebody in our ministry or someone within the police department may have released this report. I cannot criticize him for expressing those concerns, but I can assure members of the Legislature the relationship continues to be one of a high level of mutual confidence.
Mr. Renwick: Will the Attorney General agree or undertake to review, over the weekend, the whole of the report of the investigation that was presented to the Ontario Securities Commission? And will he make a determination whether or not that report should, in the public interest, be released, bearing in mind there is nothing in that report that could possibly damage any person's reputation?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Certainly, even in advance, I would not agree to the release of that report prior to the conclusion of the criminal investigation and a decision made with respect to the possibility of charges under the Criminal Code.
HANDICAPPED EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour on the handicapped employment program.
On Wednesday I acted on the invitation, which the minister extended to me and members of the resources development committee during estimates, to drop in on the handicapped employment program offices and talk with Ms. Earle and her people. The minister was right when he speculated at that time it would be quite an experience, as indeed it was.
In my two-hour meeting with a group of very able and determined persons, working under conditions which I will generously describe as unacceptable, I found their quarters to be cramped and confined, and they were working with equipment which was both inadequate and inappropriate for their needs. It would not be overstating the case, as I am sure the minister is aware, to say in some respects the environment is hazardous to the health of some of the persons working there.
As well as lifting those physical constraints upon the handicapped employment program, it is imperative that the minister lift some of the financial constraints. A good start would be for the minister to assure us that the $70,000, which was originally earmarked for the HEP budget for innovative research and has since been removed from it and, as he knows, integrated with the overall research budget of the ministry, will be returned to that program.
Will he give us that assurance this morning? If not, why not?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, in answering that question I can perhaps set the record straight in respect to some of the remarks that were made by the member when he first raised the question.
At that time he indicated there was a 13 per cent drop in the budget of that particular department. That was inaccurate; it was a two per cent cut and that two per cent cut was less than the total restraints placed on our ministry. In other words, we did not just cut uniformly across the board within our ministry; consideration was given to the excellent work that was being done by that department.
Also, I think it should be borne in mind that the department came into operation in 1979-80 and the actual expenditures in a relatively short period of time have increased from $134,000 to $625,000. The number of staff has risen from three, that is two professionals and one administrative support, to eight -- six professionals and two administrative support -- in that particular length of time.
In other words, that program has been growing and has been properly funded and, as I said the other day, I am totally satisfied and gratified by the dedication of the people who operate that program and the progress they have made.
As far as the actual quarters are concerned, I think those are not dissimilar to quarters occupied by civil servants throughout this government. We would love to have additional space, but we have to put up with the space we have and make the best of it.
Mr. Wrye: I feel very sorry for the civil servants of this government if they have to put up with those kinds of cramped and inadequate quarters and with very few filing cabinets.
In spite of the comments of the minister about how much more money he has put into this program, surely, with 10 per cent of the population physically disabled, what he needs is real initiative and innovation. In keeping with his policy of restraint, let me suggest to him, along these lines, a new program at minimal expense which was discussed at our meeting.
Will the minister undertake to authorize the funding and staffing for an awareness program of the possibilities and needs of the handicapped employment program among the members who sit in this Legislative Assembly?
There are 125 offices in existence throughout this province which could serve as ideal resource centres for the dissemination of information for prospective employers and employees. I have with me the kinds of information, all printed, which could be sent to our offices. We could sit down with our constituency assistants and explain it to them. Will he provide the staffing and the funding so that this program could get into the community and provide the information to our offices so we may bring it to our communities?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I should also point out to the honourable member that in addition to the staff persons I just referred to, there is an extra professional staff person who has been seconded from elsewhere in our ministry of late in order to give additional support to the program.
In addition -- and I am not actually sure of the number I am going to give, so I reserve the right to change it if it is inaccurate -- this summer there will be 39 Experience '83 students working across the province on the handicapped program. This will be the largest number we have ever had on the handicapped program in summer employment. This is another indication of the importance we place on it.
I cannot disagree with anything the member says with respect to the need for attention, resources and action for the handicapped. I will match my record in the community over the years with the member's any time as far as involvement with handicapped people is concerned. I feel very strongly about that. I do not want to put down the member because he is honourable, he is decent and his concerns are genuine. I am sure the concerns he is expressing are shared by everyone in this Legislature, not only the member for Windsor-Sandwich.
He did make an express recommendation or suggestion to me. What I would like to do before I address his recommendation is receive the report I am anxiously awaiting from Jean Pigott, who has spent the past couple of years in what I think is going to be an excellent and enlightening report on the role of the handicapped.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the same minister, the Minister of Labour --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if, with the indulgence of the House, I might indicate --
Mr. Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I note that we have eight minutes and 45 seconds left.
Mr. Speaker: New question please.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Earlier today the member for Windsor- Sandwich raised the matter of the accommodation of the handicapped branch in the Ministry of Labour at 400 University Avenue. In the excitement of the debate I neglected to tell the honourable member and the rest of the Legislature that those employees in the area he described are being moved to new and certainly more comfortable and more spacious quarters within the next couple of weeks, and that has been planned for some time.
PROTECTION OF NURSING ASSISTANTS
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour is aware of Thompson House, run by the Don Mills Foundation for Senior Citizens, which had 12 full-time nursing aids and 23 part-time nursing aids who are with the Service Employees' International Union Local 204. Having worked themselves up over the last few years from minimum wage before they were unionized to $7.03 an hour, they learned on April 1 that Thompson House was going to contract out to Medox health services, a division of Drake Professional Services, which would re-employ these people at $4.75 an hour, an amazing drop in pay. They were all advised to apply and try to get work there and basically lose all the things they had worked for over the last number of years.
Why is there no protection under the law in Ontario for those people who have worked so hard to gain the kinds of benefits they have? Will the minister bring in legislation to make sure this does not happen to other registered nursing assistants in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, with the greatest of respect, every question that is asked by the third party winds up with the question, "When are you going to bring in legislation?" My God, if we brought in all the legislation we were asked for, we would be sitting 365 days of the year, 24 hours every day.
Mr. Renwick: Not a bad idea.
Mr. Ruston: Hire another 100,000 civil servants.
Mr. Rae: Part-time Russ.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Imagine having to work 12 months a year, Russ. That would be terrible.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Scarborough West has the floor.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I would like to make the argument to the minister that there is a pressing need for legislation here and ask him to consider that 30 days after this decision has been made and the contracting out has taken place, the following has happened to workers who have been there for many years:
Jennis Thomas, who has worked there for 14 years, has not been called back once, although she registered with Medox; Celine Clarke, who worked there for seven to eight years, has come back for two nights of part-time work; Sally Packeri has been called for six days in total after having been there for 14 years; Cordelia Simpson, after 10 years, no time; Patricia Watson, 14 years with no time; Yvonne Johnson, nine years and has not been called back. These people have basically had all of their rights taken away, including their jobs. They were told they could come back at sort of half pay, $4.75 an hour.
Will the minister not investigate what is going on here? Will he not pressure this firm to hire these people back? There are a number of these women here today, and I would like the minister to assure us that he will meet with them to talk about their situation and the incredible jeopardy that RNAs in Ontario feel they are in because these international hiring agencies become the only way to get employed, and at rates that are basically just above minimum wage.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, you are probably going to cut me off for not responding directly to the question, but the leader of the third party made a comment that I simply will not accept about being "part-time Russ." I will match my hours on this job against his at any time.
Mr. Mackenzie: Oh, come off it. That is not the issue and you know it.
Mr. Speaker: Now to the question, please.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: In response to the honour- able member's question, which is a reasonable one, certainly I will investigate; certainly I will meet with the people. May I suggest 10:30 on Monday morning in my office?
Mr. Mackenzie: Look at the cleaners over in the centre, the same thing.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Take a look at everything you have ever asked me, you have got it.
Mr. Mackenzie: Every week we bring a case to you and nothing happens.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) will please restrain himself.
Mr. Conway: There is going to be overtime.
Mr. Speaker: Not very likely. The clocks are still running. The member for Victoria-Haliburton.
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. Even though the government has not issued a press release today, I am sure I would be remiss to let this Friday morning pass without mentioning the opening, finally, of what was described by the former minister of tourism as the jewel of the north.
I am referring to none other than our own Minaki Lodge. I say "our own" Minaki Lodge because, whether we like it or not, $45 million of scarce taxpayer dollars have been put into this.
We are told that the room rates charged at Minaki Lodge will be $85 per night without meals, or $135 with meals. What this means is that its availability is restricted to fairly wealthy individuals. There may be some justification for a taxpayers' subsidy on a type of family establishment such as Ontario Place that provides recreation and entertainment for families and for some who may not otherwise be able to afford it, but to put $45.1 million of taxpayers' dollars into a lodge that can only be enjoyed by the rich is equivalent to providing a public subsidy for the well-off.
Mr. Speaker: I assume you have a question.
Mr. Eakins: Given that this government will never recover the investment in Minaki, how does the minister justify such expenditure to the people of this province?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I would think my honourable friend, coming from a tourist area, would not throw too many stones. Either that, or his eyes are a bit green. If he checked the daily rates in any downtown Toronto hotel without meals, they are more than $85 a day. He knows that. Those rooms are not just for the rich.
What people are visiting the lodges in Haliburton? Has he ever asked for any government assistance for a lodge in Haliburton? Are there any subsidies for the lodges in Haliburton? Of course there are, and they provide jobs for Ontario people right across the north.
Mr. Eakins: I remind the Treasurer that the resorts in Haliburton are run by private enterprise. We have no quarrel with the geographical location, but, given that the final results for 1982 will probably show the most negligible increase in this province's tourism revenues since records have been kept on this, given that this trend in our revenues has been due largely to the decrease in visitors from the United States, with preliminary figures showing some 23 per cent fewer visitors than in the previous year, and given that the main clientele at Minaki is expected to be just such visitors, in particular from the midwest United States, how can he realistically expect to see Minaki Lodge operate at a profit at some point in the near future, if ever?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Minaki may or may not make a profit, based upon the investment. There are many things that are done in remoter parts of the province that are not totally justified based on investment, but are justified upon the spinoffs that occur through the area.
The member is very learned in the resort business. It happens that the many small operations all around this province basically need attractions and/or lead hotels. That is a lead hotel. It is a world-class hotel and it will bring people into the northwest who have never known about the northwest. They will discover the smaller, family-style lodges, and they will return. We will also find benefit for the native peoples up in that area through the sport fisheries, through the jobs, through the training that is going on now that will very fully justify that basic infrastructure investment.
RETAIL SALES TAX
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition that was organized by a grade 7 class at Robertson Memorial School in Goderich, consisting of students who wanted to exercise their democratic rights, having discussed the democratic system in the classroom. The petition contains 317 signatures and reads as follows:
"We the undersigned feel that the sales tax on candy is too costly. We feel it should be charged per 75 cents."
Naturally, I support the petition as I have always said it was a sad day when this government chose to use the children of this province to pay for its past mistakes.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
SOLICITORS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Norton, first reading of Bill 25, An Act to amend the Solicitors Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the Solicitors Amendment Act, 1983, is a bill which will permit lawyers to charge the taxing officers to award interest on overdue legal bills at a more realistic rate than the five per cent rate which has been prescribed in the Solicitors Act since 1909. The bill prescribes an interest rate on overdue legal accounts which cannot exceed the prime rate. This is consistent with the rate of interest which is currently awarded under the Judicature Act for other judgements. It is also consistent with the recent divisional court decision that solicitors are entitled to the prime rate of interest from the date of judgement.
In addition, the bill provides that, for the first time, a lawyer's client will have a corresponding right to interest where upon a review of the lawyer's account it is determined that the client has overpaid his lawyer. Now it is going to be hard to vote against that.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, perhaps you did not see me, but before the orders of the day, I had two private member's bills to introduce. May I introduce them at this time?
Mr. Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent to revert to bills?
CONDOMINIUM AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Philip moved, seconded by Mr. Cassidy, first reading of Bill 26, An Act to amend the Condominium Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I know the Liberals always get upset when I introduce property bills. Property usually involves fences and they can never decide which fence they are sitting on.
This bill would repeal unproclaimed provisions of the Condominium Act that relate to the condominium bureau and instead provide for a registrar of condominiums who would give advisory services to the public, maintain a register of mailing addresses of condominiums and issue licences to condominium managers.
Condominium management would be restricted to licencees except in the case of managers of single condominiums having more than 100 units, and the Lieutenant Governor in Council would be empowered to make regulations requiring the posting of bonds.
The Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario may, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, set standards for the managers.
The bill also provides consensual procedure for the review and resolution of disputes within a condominium.
CONDOMINIUM AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Philip moved, seconded by Mr. Cassidy, first reading of Bill 27, An Act to amend the Condominium Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the bill would authorize condominium corporations to make bylaws providing for the collection of special levies from owners of residential units that are occupied by tenants.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Mr. Renwick: Before the orders of the day, I would like to draw to the attention of the government House leader, who I hope was here, standing order 26(c) dealing with statements by the ministry. It says, "After any policy statement the minister shall table a compendium of background information."
On Thursday, April 21, the Premier (Mr. Davis) stated that he was pleased to advise the House that the government of the province will introduce in the near future a resolution to authorize from Ontario's standpoint, an amendment of the Canadian Constitution regarding property rights. I would assume that is a policy statement, and I would ask the government to table or provide us with a compendium of background information, either now or at the time the resolution is actually introduced into the assembly.
MOTION TO SET ASIDE ORDINARY BUSINESS
Mr. Renwick moved, seconded by Mr. Stokes, that pursuant to standing order 34(a), the ordinary business of the House be set aside to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, namely, the role of the Attorney General and the Ontario Securities Commission in the investigation of alleged breaches of the Securities Act and the Criminal Code by Norcen Energy Resources Ltd., Conrad M. Black and Edward G. Battle in relation to trading in securities.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to advise all honourable members that the motion under standing order 34(a) to set aside the ordinary business of the House has been received in order and in time. I ask the honourable member to explain why he thinks the ordinary business of the House should be set aside to hear this.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, briefly, with respect to the question of the urgency of this matter, I am not going to speak on the question of its public importance. It is obviously a matter of serious public concern, but the question of urgency is the matter that will justify this motion being accepted for the debate to proceed.
I need not say that in any comments I make I am not making any reflection on the personal integrity of any of the people who may have been involved in any of the matters that are brought before the assembly.
My first point on the question of urgency is that I have brought this motion at the earliest possible opportunity following the decision of the commission not to prosecute under section 118 of the Securities Act. It could not have been brought in on an earlier occasion because an opportunity had to be given to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie), to the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and to the Ontario Securities Commission to respond to the serious concerns raised by the decision of the commission to close its file on April 13.
The commission's jurisdiction in this matter is now entirely at an end. It is urgently necessary because the integrity of the procedures, and I emphasize the integrity of the procedures, of the commission is in question. The commission has failed completely to abide by the code of due process and fair proceeding laid down in section 11 of the Securities Act.
This section is a mandate by this assembly to that commission of the way in which investigations are to be conducted with respect to the procedures to be followed when considering the laying of charges under the Securities Act or, indeed, under the Criminal Code. That procedure was not followed in carrying out this most serious investigation and decision, and must be debated immediately; otherwise, the commission and its reputation will continue to suffer.
It is significantly urgent that the matter be now debated, because in portions of the decision of the commission that were placed before the assembly yesterday by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, there was no reflection in the decision of the commission of whether it accepted the evidence that was before it.
The commission members went off on an esoteric discussion of the questions of material fact and material change, which are of course germane to the question, but they did not reflect in their decision whether they accepted the documentary and other evidence that was in front of them or whether they accepted the denials of that documentary evidence that took place in some of the statements that were before the commission. In my view, these are matters of great concern.
My last point is that in the real world, not in the world in which these matters now are being discussed, for practical purposes the matter is at an end. The earliest opportunity must be taken to debate it here in this assembly. When I say the matter is at an end, I am referring not only to the fact that the commission is finished but also to the fact that for all practical purposes the police investigation has come to an end and the decision of the Attorney General has been reached, and it is urgent that these matters now be considered.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the motion of my friend the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). As he has pursued this matter from the beginning, he has demonstrated nothing but judgement and fairness all along.
This whole matter has raised a number of very serious questions that at this point have not been resolved in anyone's mind. It has to be put in the context of the whole question of the administration of justice, the whole method the Attorney General uses in a sense of almost holding people hostage, be it Susan Nelles, be it Mr. Proverbs, be it some of what I consider the indiscreet behaviour of him and his ministry, and the political nature of the whole Attorney General's operation here.
I accept the suggestion from the member for Riverdale, although I did not know it myself, that the police investigation is to all intents and purposes finished and is only requiring a judgement from the crown attorneys and/or the Attorney General ultimately. We face the spectre that these charges are still going on, the investigation is still going on, and we are playing very fast and loose with a number of people's reputations and with the economic interests of very many people.
I do not know how anyone in this situation -- and for the purpose of my argument I equate Neil Proverbs and Conrad Black as being in identical positions -- can fight back against an Attorney General who is so cavalier in the way he handles some of these matters. It is not just one piece of evidence; there are a number of pieces of evidence to support the concerns I have felt about this whole matter.
In England, I understand, the Attorney General does not even sit in the cabinet. That is one position that is supposed to be above politics. Yet there are so many suggestions here of political influences at various different times along the way and so much confusion in this matter with respect to his position and the position of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, who has ultimate authority in this matter.
I do not think anyone should accept the suggestion for a minute that the opposition has ever attacked the integrity of the securities commissioners. That has never been the issue; and even though the minister would wrap himself in that cloak or in some sacred principle about not letting the reports go public, those are not the issues.
I refer the minister to section 15 of his own act, which says, "Where an investigation has been made under section 11, the commission may, and, where an investigation has been made under section 13, the person making the investigation shall report the result thereof, including the evidence, findings, comments and recommendations, to the minister, and the minister may cause the report to be published in whole or in part in such manner as he considers proper."
The minister has statutory authority to make that report public. He has chosen to make some parts of it public. It is no secret. He has seen it, we have seen it and a lot of other people have seen it. Again, with the selective release of certain bits of information, I suggest both ministers are complicitous in tainting the reputation of the administration of justice. The minister would not believe the number of calls I get on these issues asking why one group in society is treated differently from another group, and I cannot explain it.
I think there are a number of unanswered questions here. The Attorney General said in the House today that there is an evidentiary base, whatever that means -- grounds to lay charges, presumably. He has not been able to persuade his colleague that there are grounds for charges to be laid. There is still the outstanding question of the role of Mr. Johnston, who was summarily dismissed some time ago as the crown attorney leading the investigation into this matter.
I think it is time now, on the basis of this, to have a wholly new look. We could start shedding some light on the question by having a debate today, and I would hope it would result in a probe of this whole matter as well as a new look at the securities legislation in the future, including a look at the conflict of interest rules.
It is very difficult in this situation, when we have commissioners, not to have conflicts of interest; I recognize that, and I am aware of some of the jurisprudence on the issue. But I think that as of this point it has not been fully aired to anyone's satisfaction. The minister has the authority to let that report go; I think it is reasonable in the circumstances. Let us commence that discussion today by a thorough airing, as suggested by my colleague the member for Riverdale.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, it was certainly our view until a few moments ago that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations would represent the government in a brief submission, but in view of the unfortunate aspersions that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) insists on hurling at a lot of people who are associated with the administration of justice in this province, I feel compelled to respond at least in brief.
We on the government side oppose the emergency debate at this time. We do not believe there is an emergency. This matter has been debated for some months and will continue to be debated, and in view of the fact that there is an ongoing criminal investigation, it certainly would not be in anybody's interest.
I think the commission, in coming forward with a very lengthy letter from its distinguished chairman, has made every reasonable effort to explain its decision in the very unusual circumstances surrounding all the history of this unhappy affair.
But I want to say to the Leader of the Opposition that he has the colossal gall to talk about being free and easy with people's reputations, yet almost on a day-to-day basis he makes snide comments and cheap innuendoes about a lot of very distinguished people who serve with me in the Ministry of the Attorney General. I really think he should be ashamed of his conduct in this Legislature.
A lot of people who used to have some regard for him, who have known him over the years, are a little concerned about the cheap shots he feels compelled to make on a day-to-day basis because of his sense of what the role of the Leader of the Opposition should be. He seems to think innuendo that attacks directly the integrity of a number of people is part of his role as Leader of the Opposition. He is behaving in a very shameful fashion, and he should be bloody well ashamed of himself.
The very difficult decisions that are made in the Ministry of the Attorney General with respect to the administration of justice are decisions that not only are shared but, in virtually every case, also are concurred in by all the senior members of the ministry.
Obviously this is not the first time, because I am aware of the cheap shots that come from the member's office on a day-to-day basis. He wants to reduce every public issue to a trivial matter of petty political partisanship. In doing so, it is one thing to criticize the individual Attorney General; we are in a political arena and we do have some understanding of the process. But I want to say on this occasion that his remarks go far beyond criticizing me personally. On a day-today basis, he is attacking the integrity of a lot of people, many of whom he knows well and knows are totally committed to --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Is it my understanding that this debate is one that ranges over any subject the Attorney General may be interested in?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Who introduced Neil Proverbs?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I am just saying there is a clear motion before the House and I would ask you to use your prerogative to insist that the Attorney General stick to that subject and no other.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Who was it who started talking about Neil Proverbs and Susan Nelles?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Nixon: You are out of order. Why are we listening to this drivel? It is out of order.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We know what happened to you.
Mr. Nixon: It will happen to everybody sooner or later, and your turn is coming up.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Perhaps we could just let our emotions subside and address the issue at hand, the motion which the member for Riverdale has put forward.
Mr. Nixon: Do you want the debate or not?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Who was it who started to introduce these other issues into the debate?
Mr. Speaker: With all respect. I do not think that is at all important.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The former and present leaders should know what has happened to the Liberal Party by insisting on sort of getting into the gutter on these issues instead of just --
Mr. McClellan: Now that we have passed the
"Yah, yah" stage --
Mr. Cooke: Throw him out.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Would the Attorney General please address the motion?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The member knows exactly where he is at and where he has been for some years. The fact of the matter is that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and ourselves --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I ask you to insist that the Attorney General withdraw his remarks, which are completely unacceptable in this chamber or elsewhere.
Mr. Speaker: Please --
Mr. Nixon: He said we are in the gutter and he knows we know where we are at.
Mr. Speaker: I did not hear him say that.
Mr. Nixon: Why should he be allowed to talk that way?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the honourable member --
Mr. Nixon: He is a disgrace to the democratic process and to the responsibility of law and order.
Hon. Mr. Wells: You people are pitiful.
Mr. Speaker: Will the Attorney General address the motion, please?
Mr. Sargent: Tell us why you are protecting Conrad Black.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: This is an example of what I am talking about, the level at which these people want to debate these important public issues. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and I will continue to address these difficult issues in the public interest. Certainly it is quite clear from the attitude we have heard in the past few moments that an emergency debate at this time would serve no useful purpose.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I understand the passions this debate involves. I was quickly perusing Beauchesne, and of course he sets out over four or five pages many of the words and phrases that constitute unparliamentary language.
I ask the chair to reflect upon some of what we have heard here. I personally believe such phrases as "in the gutter" and "innuendo" are by any reading of Beauchesne or anything else clearly unparliamentary, and I ask the chair at least to reflect upon that and perhaps give us some direction.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you for drawing that to my attention. However, with all respect, I did not hear the use of the phrase "in the gutter."
Mr. Kerrio: Out of the side of his mouth.
An hon. member: Perhaps you will check into it.
Mr. Speaker: I will indeed. Thank you.
Mr. Sargent: If you have enough money, you don't go to jail.
Mr. Kolyn: You're still out.
Mr. Sargent: At least I am paying my fine and I am doing my chore and I am not driving my car. As far as I am concerned, you guys don't have the guts to put Conrad Black in jail.
Mr. Speaker: Would the member for Grey- Bruce please resume his seat?
Mr. Sargent: They make me sick over there.
Mr. Speaker: This surely must be Friday.
An hon. member: It's the clock.
Mr. Speaker: Indeed it is, and that may be a persuasive argument to follow the recommendation of the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon).
Quite obviously I have listened with great interest to the submission put forward by the member for Riverdale and to why other members think there should be and should not be a debate proceeded with under standing order 34(a). It is an important issue and one that obviously has raised a lot of public concern and public interest.
Somewhat reluctantly, I must say that in my opinion the matter does not properly fall within the limits of standing order 34 and I therefore rule that the debate will not proceed.
Mr. McClellan: Are you going to explain, Mr. Speaker, why it does not fall within the purview of the standing order?
Mr. Speaker: It is an interpretation and it falls within standing order 34(c)(i): "The matter proposed for discussion must relate to a genuine emergency, calling for immediate and urgent consideration."
In my opinion, this matter does not constitute an emergency in as much as it has been before the public for many months. It has been raised in this House on numerous occasions. It has been a matter of great discussion in all the media for a very prolonged period. That is what I base my opinion on and I stand by that opinion.
Mr. Sargent: You should read the paper some time.
Mr. Speaker: I do.
Mr. McClellan: Very reluctantly, sir, I have to challenge your ruling.
The House divided on the Speaker's ruling, which was sustained on the following vote:
Andrewes, Barlow, Birch, Cousens, Cureatz, Davis, Dean, Drea, Elgie, Fish, Gillies, Gregory, Grossman, Kennedy, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, McCaffrey. McCague, McLean, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton, Pollock, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Scrivener, Sheppard, Sterling, Stevenson, Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Wells, Williams, Wiseman.
Allen, Bradley, Breithaupt, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Conway, Cooke, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Elston, Grande, Haggerty, Johnston, R. F., Kerrio, Mackenzie, McClellan, McGuigan, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, Peterson, Philip, Rae, Renwick, Ruprecht, Ruston, Sargent, Stokes, Worton, Wrye.
Ayes 41; nays 32.
MEMBER'S WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Mr. Speaker: Before proceeding with the regular business of the House and before all the members vacate, I think we should all note the fact that the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) and his wife are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday, May 1, and they would be very happy to receive you between the hours of two and five or six and eight. Have a great weekend.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, on that subject, I think Hansard should also note that they are still both very happy.
Mr. Speaker: The half that is here looks extremely happy.
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. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, it was nice to recognize my colleague the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) on his 40th wedding anniversary. Forty years is a long while, and it does add a little colour to the Legislature. After some of these difficult debates we have, it is nice to have something on the lighter side.
As I was winding up last evening I was trying to make some points about agriculture and the dire straits we find many of our farmers in, and some points also on behalf of small business, pointing out the fact that 3,427 firms filed for bankruptcy in 1982. I was trying to encourage this government through the throne speech debate to bring out some programs they had promised for the last two years, particularly for agriculture and small business, to give some assistance to those industries, which are so important in our province.
Another point I would like to make concerns the unemployment among our young people. There are 233,000 of them from 15 to 24 years old, and our area is no exception. Last year many of our young people who often get summer jobs were not able to do so because of the early frost and the cutback in the work that was available.
I would just like to bring to the attention of the House the fact that the provincial funding for the youth employment program has fallen from $58.80 per unemployed youth in 1980-81 to $45.28 in 1982-83, a 23 per cent decrease even discounting inflation. The Experience '83 programs have been announced and those programs are being cut back again this year.
At a time when unemployment is running higher, that is an area this government can take a look at. It was one of our issues when the restraint program was brought in last September through Bill 179, that this money should be set aside and utilized to get the young people and our economy going. We estimated at the time that some $400 million to $800 million could be saved through the restraint bill; if the money were used to provide incentives to hire young people or by subsidizing them, as the government is doing at the present time, it certainly would get our young people taking part in the overall work programs of our province.
Another issue that was brought out in the 1982 throne speech was that they were going to encourage and develop our port facilities in the province, but I have not seen very much evidence of that to this point. Again localizing and looking at our own particular area, we have Dunnville, which is situated on the Grand River with a natural deep-water port to provide a good seaway facility. I notice that in Toronto they are redeveloping the waterfront and removing those elevators. It seems to me it would only be a good stimulation to develop a port along Lake Erie that is capable of taking deep-sea boats.
We do have a strong agricultural base, and it could be stronger if the province were to take some leadership in developing the land at South Cayuga and Haldimand and in encouraging farm production in that area. It certainly has not reached its potential. Again, it would stimulate that part of Ontario and utilize our waterways.
With respect to the development of the Nanticoke industrial area, there is pressure being applied to Port Dover now to provide more port facilities at Nanticoke. It is probably one of the largest and it handles the most tonnage of perhaps any port on the Great Lakes with the exception of Thunder Bay and the Lakehead. Now that Stelco is utilizing its steel plant, Texaco is exporting oil from the Nanticoke generating station and the Hydro plant itself is importing many millions of tons of coal every year it is becoming a very busy port.
Last year's throne speech promised that there would be future development and these are areas we certainly could take a look at, along with developing some minor recreation ports like Turkey Point, Sandusk and Nanticoke Creek, because there is room for development there. I would certainly encourage this government to take a look at those projects to see if we cannot improve those facilities.
The last two areas of concern are to ask this government, when we are talking about small business and trying to get our economy moving again, whether it would take a specific look at our small towns. Again using some examples like Jarvis, Dunnville, Caledonia and Simcoe, we have a lot of vacant plants. There is one in Dunnville that was working for Essex International of Canada Ltd. three or four years ago making car lighting harnesses. It went out of business. That plant has been sitting there for the last three or four years now, and it is a good facility. The Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) should be looking at that to develop some use for it.
We had a canning plant in Waterford. Granted, it was an old pickle plant that had been owned by Canadian Canners Ltd., which closed down last year. But perhaps it could be upgraded by the so-called Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, which has been useful to my area and many areas of Ontario. We are the heartland of the pickle and cucumber industry. Now with no facilities there the produce is going to have to be trucked to other locations and it is going to put a damper on the expansion of that program, although we have all the tools to produce and grow in that direction.
In this year's throne speech there was an indication that the government was going to promote and encourage development in regard to the foreign auto industry. If they want to produce, 85 per cent of those cars should be produced in Canada. We have an excellent location at the Townsend industrial park to handle those facilities in that area. We also have the potential to provide the housing.
That gets back to the fact that this government has spent and invested great sums of money in Townsend, including the water system that is capable of not only servicing that area but has within its scope to service Kitchener and the heartland of the Grand River. At a time when we are looking for work programs, it makes good sense to me that the water line be extended along the Grand River to Caledonia, Brantford and Kitchener, providing a good source of excellent water. In return, it would provide more runoff water to make better quality water in the Grand River itself.
What is the member looking at over there?
Mr. Treleaven: Just the quality of your water.
Mr. G. I. Miller: It is Lake Ontario water. This is after it comes down and is diluted at the Niagara River and Toronto gets the results.
I spoke about the industrial area and the potential we have to develop housing in that part of Ontario.
One other area I would like to bring to the attention of the government is the fact that we do have Townsend. Going back to its history, John White indicated we were going to have a growth of nearly one million people and there was a need for those town sites, South Cayuga and Townsend. This has not really come about. The population of the region has changed by only a couple of thousand people since the inception of regional government in 1973.
We have always tried to be reasonable and promote our own municipalities, indicating to the government we should let the existing towns develop and then, when the pressure comes on, bring in the new town sites. The government, in its wisdom, did not pay attention to our criticism and our views. It moved ahead with Townsend.
There are about 100 homes there now. They have fixed it up to be a beautiful location, but it has been very expensive and it has been at the expense of communities like Jarvis, where we have now had a subdivision for six to seven years. The hydro services are there, the lots are there, the streets are paved and they are not being utilized.
If one moves into Port Dover the same thing happens, only with 250 lots and they are selling slowly. Simcoe is another example where there are hundreds of lots and potential to grow; they are just sitting there, but they are not moving.
In Townsend itself, it is only because of extreme sales pressure by the Ontario Land Corp. and the fact it has access to considerablely more funds than the private developer has that they are able to promote those homes. They are certainly good homes, providing homes for our young people. I am not opposed to that but I think the same thing should apply to the private developer to get the other lots, which are serviced and ready to go, on to the market.
The program brought about in 1982 was successful. I think Caledonia was a good example. We were able to take advantage of that program and have perhaps developed more homes in the municipality than any other area. I think we have to bring in another program that will keep the home program viable, because the spinoff effect is tremendous. I guess the bottom line is it has to be at a price we can afford.
There is one other area which was mentioned in the throne speech, and that was that insurance benefits, workers' benefits were going to be reviewed. It is about time a close look is taken at the retirement funds so that they are portable. This has been a project of my leader.
It has come to my attention only within the last few days that one of my constituents who had worked at a firm within my area died after 27 years at the plant. His widow is going to receive a pension of $198.77. She is getting a portion of the Canada pension. Her total take is $406. If he had lived to age 65, he would have received $1,097 a month.
She is not capable of going out to work. She has raised her family. When the breadwinner is not there, how we can expect her to keep her home, live in it and keep it up on a pension of about $4,000 a year? It is almost impossible.
The husband had earned that pension but, just because of the unfortunate timing of his death, the family is not able to take advantage of that. It is an area we have to zero in on. I want to bring it to the attention of the government and hope that something can be done in the near future about that problem.
I will conclude my comments. These are the areas of my concerns. I know we are in very difficult financial times. Unemployment is running high. Our caucus and I want to support any program that will get the economy going and give our young people a share of the action that is so important to the future of Ontario and Canada.
Mr. MacQuarrie: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to participate in this debate. I would like to point out that on the same day as the Lieutenant Governor was delivering the speech from the throne a rather unique trade fair was taking place in Chicago. This fair was called Robots 7 and involved 200 companies with a total sales force of some 30,000 people. These companies had but one objective, which was to sell the articulated arms and the infrared recognition systems that will be standard equipment in the factories of tomorrow.
They were selling more than technologies. They were selling ideas and they were selling the future. It is that future and Ontario's place in it, as suggested by the throne speech, that I want to talk about today. I want to talk about it because it is not only of interest to the people of Ontario but it is of particular interest to me, the people of Carleton East and others in the Ottawa area, who see and hear of parts of that future evolving around them every day at places like the National Research Council and other government laboratories, the universities and laboratories of the high-technology firms in the Ottawa Valley.
Before I talk about that future, it is a privilege for me to represent the great riding of Carleton East and the fine people who reside in it. The riding, as you know, Mr. Speaker, is the largest riding in eastern Ontario and the fourth largest in the province in population.
Within its limits it contains the national aeronautic establishment of the National Research Council, which possesses some of the most sophisticated wind tunnel equipment and facilities in the world. It also possesses the Montreal Road campus of the National Research Council, which is engaged in research and development across the whole spectrum of scientific and technical knowledge. In addition, it possesses the laboratories of the geomagnetic section of the federal Department of Energy, Mines and Resources and the land engineering and test establishment of the Department of National Defence. Consequently, we are interested in high technology.
I would like to talk about the future, because it is the one thing which, to an extent, we can direct. In a world of exploding change, there is no question that we must be prepared to change and to change rapidly in order to maintain our future in as prosperous and rewarding a state as our past. I want to do what I can to ensure that this government's progressive policies and programs will help to shape a better future for Ontario. The technology of production is shifting to hard and soft automated systems. The shift is taking place at the moment and will continue at an even faster rate in the future.
The sad fact is that many of our industries are technological dinosaurs. Many of them are now involved in playing catch-up with their international competitors. At risk is the viability of our traditional industrial base and the jobs that depend on it. The automobile industry, so important to the economy of our province, is one of these industries. Currently, there are 25,000 robots at work in Japanese industry, and in the United States there are approximately 5,000 to 10,000 industrial robots, including 2,400 in the auto plants.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: What about the legislative robots?
Mr. MacQuarrie: Most of the robots I see are across the way.
The American auto makers plan to increase the size of their robot work force to between 15,000 and 25,000 by the end of the decade. That is according to an article in Business Week on March 28. It costs between $15 and $18 an hour to maintain the average auto worker. A six-axis, servo-controlled, computer-driven robot amortized over eight years costs between $4 and $5 an hour. More significant, the cost of operating robots will probably decline to the $1-to-$2 range by 1990.
Mr. McClellan: What kind of car does a robot drive?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: We need rules to make sure robots don't drive Japanese cars.
Mr. MacQuarrie: Judging from the remarks from across the way, I think the cost will go to even less.
In Canada, we have a grand total of 200 industrial robots. Of this total, 115 are at work for the Big Three auto makers, who are now attempting to modernize their production facilities and to increase the number of robots in their systems to approximately 450 by 1985. This in itself will not be enough to guarantee the long-term viability of the industry unless we supplement it in the short term by other measures.
This government's proposals in the speech from the throne with respect to quota and Canadian-content regulations should be adopted and put into effect by the federal government to give our domestic industry --
Mr. McClellan: You should give this speech in Oshawa.
Mr. MacQuarrie: Surely in Oshawa, they are realists; or are they?
Mr. Kolyn: We will find out in five years whether we have any.
Mr. Grande: Keep on reading, you will do well.
Mr. Nixon: I wish you guys would leave him alone.
Mr. McClellan: I wonder if they have robots that read speeches.
Mr. MacQuarrie: I have one other speed slower.
It is essential that the regulations with respect to quota and Canadian content be adopted and put into effect by the federal government to give our domestic industry a chance to re-establish itself and put itself in a position to compete effectively in any market.
Firm trends suggest that in the future the most efficient and productive industries will be built around soft automated systems. These systems combine basic robots, specialized computers, numerically-controlled machines, all in a super- flexible manufacturing system.
It is interesting to note that the National Research Council is in the process of establishing a flexible manufacturing cell in its mechanical engineering division. It is also interesting to note that today, I understand, a group from our Ontario Centre for Robotics and from our Ontario Centre for Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing are visiting the National Research Council.
These new systems will set the world's standard in efficiency, product quality and cost. It is against these standards and these industries that we in Ontario must compete.
This government recognizes that fact and accepts the challenge. As the Premier (Mr. Davis) said at the opening of the Ontario Centre for Microelectronics, to compete in today's international markets means going up against the very best in the world and winning; winning in terms of quality and winning in terms of costs. There is really only one way to win and that is through superior technology.
The Science Council of Canada has issued a report which confirms the Premier's view. According to the Science Council of Canada, research and development of superior technology is the key to the survival of our manufacturing sector, to improving our competitiveness in world markets and ultimately to raising our standard of living.
To its credit, the Canadian federal government in its recent budget introduced a number of measures to support technological research and development. These measures include the construction of 15 technology centres across the country.
What will be Ontario's position in this world of the new industrial revolution? Looking at that future through the window provided by the speech from the throne, I see a general outline of that future and detect in the speech a genuine commitment on the part of this government to improving our economic prospects through investment in and development of high technology.
I am confident that the details and specifics of the policies and programs in the throne speech will be filled in by the provincial budget and by the policy statements which will be made by the ministers of this government. I would hope that at that time what I perceive to be a number of inadequacies in our current policy approach in the area of high technology and the transfer of that technology will be dealt with. The programs we have in place are excellent but do not address some problems which, if left unresolved, could jeopardize what we have achieved to this point and what we hope to accomplish in the future.
In an area as novel and dynamic as high technology, a program cannot be totally comprehensive. New problems will arise as our high-technology sectors develop. As our experience in managing this area grows, we will discover that some approaches are better than others in relating to specific problems. High technology is, after all, more than chips, computers and robots. High technology embraces a broad spectrum of scientific and technical disciplines. Programs that prove effective for the development and diffusion of technologies in one sector may prove to be less effective in another.
In addressing some of the points raised in the throne speech, I will make a number of recommendations as to how we might more effectively deal with the opportunities before us. In most cases these proposals could be seen as supplements to existing programs. All of them, in my opinion, will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of current initiatives. In many instances, I am sure, I am anticipating the minister. However, I bring these forward for the consideration of all members.
It is my strong belief that if the economic recovery which seems to be building is to be anything more than an intermission between recessions, we must quickly and systematically exploit high technology. In the speech from the throne, this government undertakes to help build internationally competitive industries in Ontario. To realize this goal we will have to ensure that our industries have made available to them the high-technology hardware and software they will need to compete.
To accomplish this we must help build a viable high-technology sector in Ontario. We must then concentrate not only on technology transfer but also on domestic research and development. We must maintain this dual focus, because in Ontario and in Canada generally we have two problems. Our first problem is inadequate research and development. In 1983, spending on research and development by the private and public sectors will increase by some 12 per cent. In spite of this increase we will still be spending less than one per cent of our gross national product on research and development. This will have to improve.
Our second problem is that Canadian firms have proved to be extremely slow to adapt what are known as "best-practice technologies" in their operations. A recent study by the Economic Council of Canada shows that it is usually five years, and sometimes more than 10 years, after the first use of an innovative technology that the technology is picked up and applied by a Canadian firm. This is the case even for technologies developed in Canada.
The Ontario technology centres supported by the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development should help us overcome the problem of technological lag in our traditional industries. Our resource industries in particular stand to benefit because mining and forestry companies which have been hard hit by the recession have reduced their spending on research and have cut back on their research staffs. The technology centres will no doubt play an important role in our efforts to build internationally competitive industries. However, I think the following points should be borne in mind:
First, the centres should give special emphasis to the transfer of domestic technologies without neglecting offshore technologies that we can use to advantage. Currently it is estimated that 75 per cent of the technologies that come out of Canadian universities go abroad instead of into our domestic market. Technologies developed by other sources in Canada are also often developed offshore.
By way of illustration, a group in the photo-grammetric section of the National Research Council several years ago devised some revolutionary techniques. Were these techniques developed or exploited in Canada? No. They were picked up, developed and exploited by the Swiss and the Italians.
Another illustration concerns an electronics engineer, a space engineer, who was involved in the Telesat project. As part of his employment he went down to the Mojave Desert, where he discovered, in the motel where he was staying, water of the most pure and excellent quality. In looking into it he found that the water was produced and purified by means of a technology known as reverse osmosis, membrane technology or ultra-filtration. Having an entrepreneurial mind, he inquired as to where this technology originated. He found that the source of the technology and the leading expert in the field, was back in his own home town.
This is the type of thing that cannot be permitted to happen. We cannot expect to build a strong high-technology sector when a lot of our potential flees the country in search of development.
Second, unless we step up our own research and development efforts we will become increasingly dependent on those nations that do invest in basic research. Instead of innovation we will have importation; we will be perpetually one step behind our competitors in the development, application and export of technologies. Our technology centres will in this case only help our industries keep up with yesterday.
I notice that the time is one o'clock.
On motion by Mr. MacQuarrie, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 1 p.m.