The House met at 2 p.m.
ARTICLE IN NEWSPAPER
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Twice in a column written by Claire Hoy in the Toronto Sun a statement in the chamber has been attributed to my honourable colleague the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio).
I would like the record to show that I in fact made that remark. I regret any embarrassment the comments may have caused this Legislature.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I note again today that the Premier (Mr. Davis) is not here, and again it was on his schedule that he would be attending today. Again I have a question for him. You may want to address your mind, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that we are becoming increasingly a province without a Premier, and even though he may have his mind elsewhere --
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: -- there are certain obligations and duties here in this House.
That being said, you will note the attendance of the cabinet ministers and the Premier over the last little while. It is not something that has done very much to elevate the parliamentary process in anyone's mind.
Mr. Speaker, I am casting my eyes across the House looking for the senior minister, and it is difficult to find one. That being said, I will go to the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch), who is in his place today. It must inspire some fear in your heart that that man could actually be the Premier for a while in this province, Mr. Speaker.
DAMAGE BY TORNADOES
Mr. Peterson: Let me ask him a question. Would the Deputy Premier care to bring this House up to date on the extensive damage suffered in many communities in southwestern Ontario as a result of tornadoes? I would ask the minister for the government's assessment of the situation in those communities, particularly in the Sarnia area in the vicinity of Plympton township. Will he be recommending to cabinet that these areas be declared disaster areas eligible for special assistance?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that field staff of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing made a preliminary trip of investigation in the areas hardest hit by the storm yesterday afternoon. In fact, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) and the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Henderson) are in the Sarnia area this afternoon to learn at first hand the details of the damage.
It is also my understanding that an office has been set up in the area by employees of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing so that property owners can come in and give details of the extent of the damage they have experienced. I think it is early yet to share with the House any estimate of that damage. No doubt the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing will be in a much better position to share that information with members following his investigation this afternoon.
Mr. Peterson: The minister will be aware that we have had discussions in this House before about the type of special relief that should be going to hard-hit areas at the time of a natural disaster. Does he not feel it is time the government approached these matters, not on an ad hoc basis, but in terms of some permanent policy?
For example, my colleague the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) has suggested at various times in this House that we should have an emergency relief fund, perhaps even established with lottery funds, to provide loan and grant assistance to individuals and communities that are subject to extraordinary expenditures due to a natural disaster.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I can appreciate the position being taken by the leader of the official opposition. However, the record of this government in responding to need as it has arisen speaks for itself. It is a record I hope all members of the House want to share in.
The particular point is whether we have a policy to which we subject individual situations or whether we respond to individual situations once satisfied as to the extent of the damage. I am quite satisfied, in fact quite impressed, that officials of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing were on the scene yesterday, that a field office has been established today and that people are being urged to come in today to discuss with government officials their losses and the extent of the damage.
The minister himself is there today with the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development, indicating a personal interest and concern. I feel quite satisfied that once we have a complete understanding of the extent of the damage, this government, as usual, will respond in a very humane and responsible way.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister would not agree that one of the advantages of having an established program is that the government, as soon as the news of a disaster reaches it, as happened yesterday, would be able to respond in an official way rather than simply responding in an ad hoc way as the crisis arises. We simply ask the Deputy Premier to have another look at this problem. It may give the citizens of this province a greater assurance that not only will things appear to be done, but they will be done in reality, and all the capacities of government will be put into motion right away.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I think the final assessment of a successful response to this is, in fact, responding to it. No one is going to fault us, and I hope the honourable leader will commend the ministry for moving in as quickly as it has. Let the member look at the pattern. Perhaps he has not been in the House long enough to assess the fact and study the history of this approach. We have responded in a fairly clear way, once the extent of the damage was known.
I am quite satisfied, with the minister there today, that there is no one in that part of the province who has suffered any loss who feels this government is not sensitive to and very sympathetic about the damage he or she has suffered and that it does not want to move in a responsible way according to established principles in that regard.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment relating to the matter of Swaru, the solid waste reduction unit, and the emissions of dioxin and furan from that plant. I am aware the minister has cut production some 20 per cent and changes in the boiler have been made so that emissions have been somewhat reduced.
That being said, does he not feel it would be an appropriate and reasonable response by his ministry, given the very wide degree of concern felt in that area by the people who may be affected by that plant, to engage in testing of the individuals who live nearby that plant and are thereby potentially affected by these emissions?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that I would not hesitate to do what would be appropriate in any such situation.
I have had rather extensive discussions with medical people on whether they feel it would be either necessary or advisable at this time. To date, the advice has been no, that it would not be productive -- in part, I suppose, because the complex combination of things that might be present there would lead to no conclusion whatsoever with respect to the particular point the member is raising. Furthermore, in their opinion, there is no indication that there is any need for such a study.
Mr. Peterson: The minister will be aware that view is not shared by a variety of other people, particularly if one is living adjacent to that plant and given the amount of concern that has been exhibited locally. The minister, I know, is aware of all that. He is also aware of the Tricil report, which said afterburners could have some effect on the emissions from that plant.
Does he not feel, as Minister of the Environment, that he has an obligation to proceed with those plans? Does he not feel, as minister and as the guardian for those people, that he has an obligation to make sure every possible avenue is pursued to monitor and protect the health of people in that area?
Hon. Mr. Norton: With respect to the matter of the operation of the plant that the member referred to, I can assure him the work that is under way is very extensive. In fact, I believe contracts now have been signed -- I have not personally been the signatory to the contracts -- to the tune of some $300,000 for work to be done on the plant in terms of addressing ways in which its efficiency can be improved.
Studies are under way relating to the testing of the design of the plant, the operations and present practices there, to determine what improvements can be made.
In the interim, as the member has already indicated, the operation of the plant has been cut back by 20 per cent, and the advice I have received is that this brings the emissions within the guideline which, as I indicated in the House at the time of my original announcement of the findings, is a very conservative guideline in terms of the precautions that are implicit in its development.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the Swaru incinerator has been operating for more than a decade and the readings his ministry got last summer were after a number of technical changes in the operation of that facility over the course of the decade, and in view of the fact that nobody knows what the emissions were in the past but it is quite likely they were much worse, on what basis is the minister saying there is no indication of a need to go in and test people in the community? Why will he not go in and find out what possible damage may have been done?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in response to the initial question from the Leader of the Opposition -- in fact, I think I have addressed the honourable member's question; he is repeating the first question of the Leader of the Opposition.
Hon. Mr. Norton: If I am not mistaken, the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) asked essentially the same question back at the time of the announcement. I am sorry, I forgot about the hot competition between the two members.
Hon. Mr. Norton: He is claiming credit. I am not sure. One or the other of the members asked the question.
Mr. Bradley: Anyway, answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am about to do that if the member for St. Catharines will just give me an opportunity.
I think what the honourable member is asking for is an epidemiological study, and if he were to discuss the advisability of an epidemiological study with experts in that field, with medical people, I think he would probably get the same advice as I have. If he can get contrary advice, then fine, he can let me know about it.
But the purpose of epidemiology is not to go and look for symptoms, and there is no indication, I am told, of any particular problem relating to health effects in that community. If there were, then it would be an appropriate time to do an epidemiological study to determine what the causes of any symptoms might be. But the member has not presented to me or to the medical people, nor have they seen, any evidence of any aberrational symptoms.
Mr. Peterson: Surely the minister's responsibility is to move ahead of time, not after the fact. His entire approach seems to be that we will wait until someone gets very ill or until there is evidence, and then we will move on the situation.
The minister is aware, I am sure, that even with the cutback at Swaru, according to Dr. Frank Karasek, it is pumping 100 times the amount of dioxin that some of the more modern plants tested in France, for example, are pumping out; and he is aware that it is at a potentially dangerous level or else he would not be taking the action he is engaging in at the present time.
Surely, given the play of dioxin emissions in this province in a variety of --
Mr. Speaker: Order. I will ask all honourable members to curtail their private conversations in the House please, and I would ask the Leader of the Opposition to place his question.
Mr. Peterson: It is obvious that bunch needs a little leadership, Mr. Speaker. The cat is away and the mice will play.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: I am back to the Minister of the Environment on this matter, with whose approach I fundamentally disagree. He is waiting for evidence of major health problems before he is prepared to move, and by that time it is going to be too late.
Given the evidence we have now in a variety of areas in this province -- Niagara, the Welland Canal, the Detroit River, the St. Clair River, Swaru and a variety of others -- of this deadly chemical sneaking into the atmosphere, the water and a variety of other places, surely the minister's responsibility is to develop the medical process to understand the potential effects of this chemical and not to wait 20 years, when it will be too late. Would the minister not think this is part of his responsibility?
Mr. McClellan: Yes or no.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Well, as with most things, it is not quite that simple. I do want to give the honourable member the fullest possible answer, and I do hope the Speaker will allow me that opportunity.
Mr. Speaker: Briefly.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It is really not for me to try to pretend that I am a medical expert. If the member wishes to pretend that he is, that is fine. I happen also to have a responsibility to discharge on behalf of the public in this province that requires me to be responsible, thoughtful and careful when I am dealing with matters that may relate to issues involving human health, and that is the way I will continue to function. I will seek the very best medical advice that is available to me and I will take it into consideration in making the decisions I am responsible for making.
If the member has any evidence to the contrary, other than wishing, perhaps, to make this into an issue on which medical people would disagree with him, then I would ask him to be a little more thoughtful himself in his responses to this particular problem. It is not being treated lightly and it will not be treated lightly, but I will insist on proceeding responsibly in dealing with these serious issues that face us in our society.
Furthermore, the impression the Leader of the Opposition and his caucus are trying to create that there is "an epidemic of dioxin" in Ontario -- I think that is the phrase his critic has used, or something of that nature -- is fallacious. Really what we are seeing is the result of major advances in technology that have been implemented in this province, which are allowing us to detect very low levels of dioxin in certain areas where they have probably existed for a long time from natural sources such as combustion -- natural to the extent they have been with us for a long time.
If the member has a fire in his fireplace, he is probably contributing dioxin to the --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Thank you. New question, the member for York South.
SENIOR CITIZENS SERVICES
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. I met today with a Mrs. Annie Hayes, a remarkable 89-year-old woman who is living at 51 Greenlaw Avenue in west Toronto. Mrs. Hayes told me she would be forced to leave her home in which she has lived since 1944 and move into an institution unless she continues to be provided services by the West Metro Senior Citizens Services centre.
What response is the Ministry of Community and Social Services going to make to the request from the West Metro Senior Citizens Services centre for the $17,000 that will enable it to stay alive this year? What response will come from the ministry so Mrs. Hayes will be able to stay in her home?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised the leader of the New Democratic Party would ask a question like that. He knows we are going to meet it. Everybody knows that. I said that last week. Where was the member?
Mr. Rae: With great respect to the minister, he has not answered the question. May I say to the minister before he gets up on his feet in hysterical rage that, if he has certain information with respect to the West Metro Senior Citizens Services, this information is not being shared with that organization. I met with them at lunchtime and they are not aware of any plans by the ministry to provide them with funding.
Instead of forcing these groups across Metro and indeed across the province to rely continually on emergency funding and to face continually the prospect of having to close, what measures is the minister going to take to provide permanent funding, as called for in the Neighbourhoods Under Stress report last week, to make sure these organizations are able to survive on a permanent, stable basis, so the senior citizens and disabled people they care for will be able to stay in their homes and not be forced into institutions? That is the impact the uncertainty is having for those people.
Hon. Mr. Drea: First of all, I answered his first question. It is not my fault the leader of the third party cannot read a newspaper, is monumentally misinformed, appears disoriented here today and is asking me the wrong question.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Now to the question, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: One of the honourable leader's problems at the moment is he is running as a front for an alderman who gave an interview last week on the west Toronto seniors matter and said that because he had not heard, therefore --
Mr. Rae: They have not heard either.
Mr. McClellan: Nobody has heard.
Mr. Rae: Nobody has heard.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Just a moment; if the leader will let me answer, they have.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, there is not. I answered the first question. I would appreciate it if --
Mr. Swart: Talk about hallucination.
Mr. McClellan: Not everybody hears voices, Frank. You will have to speak up.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Fine, they do not want an answer.
Mr. Speaker: I think the minister answered the question.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the report was also monumentally misinformed in what it pointed out about funding in Metropolitan Toronto ridings -- Ontario funding, excluding projects of a provincial nature. I know the minister had a person from Community and Social Services at the meeting which launched the report. The report pointed out the difficulties faced by organizations like this compared with one that has Wintario funding, where $3 goes to every government riding for $1 spent in every opposition riding in Metropolitan Toronto, excluding projects of a provincial nature. I wonder if the minister might want to comment on that.
Mr. Speaker: I do not think that is supplementary.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am a nice guy. I will answer it. I happen to believe there is a great deal of difficulty in trying to have necessary social services, such as the ones described here today, funded by lotteries. Any jurisdiction that has gone into the funding of necessary, ongoing social services by lotteries has got itself into very serious and very substantial trouble. I would have thought a supposedly in-depth study of many of the real or emerging social planning needs in Metropolitan Toronto would have been a little more creative than to ask for a pool of lottery money.
To return to the question of permanent funding, that is really something very archaic in social work. The whole thrust today is that there is core funding, then funding on a project-by-project basis. This allows the social organization, whether it is just emerging or whether it is long established, to be able to meet needs; and when those needs are met -- indeed, in social work one of the central concepts is that one must be always trying to work oneself out of a job by meeting needs -- it is not necessarily the end of the organization, because the organization goes ahead and pioneers on other needs.
In short, this is virtually the only way, using the fee-for-service basis or some of the imaginative techniques that have come about in the past decade, where new groups that want to tackle new problems are even able to get into the field.
In terms of the Metro situation, my staff has been meeting with the staff of Metro social services for some time, particularly dealing with agencies that provide services to the elderly.
Mr. McClellan: You have been meeting for five or six years.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, with all respect, my remarks relate to an earlier supplementary which I did not have a chance to answer.
Mr. Speaker: You can answer that in due time.
Mr. Rae: I just say to the minister that the executive director of the West Metro Senior Citizens Services centre knows nothing of any plans by the ministry to provide additional funding.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: Since I know the minister is eager to answer, does he not think a funding formula that requires of groups, such as the West Metro Senior Citizens Services centre, that they raise 30 per cent of their funding from their own fund-raising activities is totally unrealistic in view of the kind of groups they are serving and the kind of groups they are drawing their funding from?
Does the minister not think it is time to develop a formula that will provide these groups with permanent, stable funding, instead of asking them to live hand to mouth, year by year, and exist on an emergency basis? That is the real issue in this case.
Hon. Mr. Drea: If that is the real issue, then I have already met it. That is precisely why two things are occurring. My staff has met with that organization. That organization, after meeting with my people, for some peculiar reason and probably with the assistance of the member's friend, the alderman, held a press conference last Friday stating it was going to go out of business at the end of June, when indeed it knew this ministry was most sympathetic to its particular problem.
If I had not been interrupted a moment ago, I could have saved the member asking this question. I have recognized for some months the particular problem faced by agencies dealing with services to the elderly, when they are forced to raise that 30 per cent from the private sector or from other than the Metro government and ourselves. I recognize that, and I do not know where the member has been in this House because I have said so.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: They have had to go to you every year for the past three years.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Drea: That is the very reason the social services staff of Metropolitan Toronto and my own staff have been looking, not just at the particular agency the leader of the third party discovered today but also at the one that was covered at some length in the Toronto Star last week by Miss Pigg. If he reads that story, he will see it was stated at the bottom that they never had to ask for money before, that they are the model.
The member need not wave his back hand at me. He walked into a trap today and he is going to get slapped around. He might as well sit there and like it. If he cannot keep his research straight that is not my problem.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, it is an incredible performance by the minister who has not even had the courtesy to tell his plans to the organization he claims he is ready to fund. What kind of a fraud is that?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I want that word "fraud" withdrawn.
Mr. Rae: I will not withdraw it, because it is a fraud. It is a fraud.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The good intentions of a week ago seem to have flown out the window. We are almost at the halfway period in question period. I ask the member for York South to withdraw that unfortunate reference, please.
Mr. Rae: I will not withdraw that remark, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: I said the program that the minister claimed to be putting forward was a fraud, and I stand by those remarks. If the individuals who are running that service are not even aware of funding plans by that minister, and he gets up in this House and claims it is being done, I say that is a fraud.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I draw the member's attention to standing order 19(d)(11) and ask him to reconsider the use of that word.
An hon. member: Throw him out.
An hon. member: That is what he wants.
Mr. Speaker: All right. In the member's failure to withdraw --
Hon. Mr. Bernier: He needs help. Where's Elie?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: I ask you, sir, to consider very carefully the words I used --
Mr. Speaker: No, no. Order.
Mr. Rae: I am making a request of you, Mr. Speaker, and I ask you to hear me out.
The minister has called my integrity into question in his answer to me. He called into question the information that I have. I want the minister to know, and I want you to know, sir, that not only did I meet this morning with Mrs. Hayes but I also met with Beth Hoaster-Walsh, who is the executive director of the agency in question.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for York South will please resume his seat.
I must point out, and I am sure all honourable members are well aware, that it is not just the specific language which is used but it is also the manner in which it is used.
Mr. Mackenzie: Doesn't it work both ways?
Mr. Rae: If I may say to you, sir, I did not at any time impute any motive to the minister. I did not at any time impute any motive with respect to his integrity. The only thing I said was with respect to a program that has not been communicated to the individuals involved. I think I am entitled in parliamentary language to describe that as a fraud. I will not withdraw that remark with respect to the program.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. As I said before, it was not the specific language, it was the temper in which it was used.
Mr. Laughren: Boy oh boy. Majority government.
Mr. Speaker: Order. There is plenty of precedence for that in May and in Beauchesne.
Mr. Bradley: Throw him out.
Mr. Laughren: That's the way to run it.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I ask the member for York South to give this serious consideration --
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, on Friday, when I was here listening to the vigorous intervention of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) in response to a number of questions, I had occasion to review Beauchesne, and you are correct, sir, in so far as Beauchesne is concerned. It has been ruled in Ottawa on a couple of occasions that "fraud" is unparliamentary. I refer to page 107 of Beauchesne.
In my humble estimation, what the leader of the third party has said may be, according to Beauschesne, unparliamentary, but I do not think it is any more unparliamentary than what the minister said in some agitation when he referred to the leader of the third party as -- I think I heard him correctly -- "running a front for some alderman." That, in my view, is an imputation of motive. I think, if we want the leader of the third party to withdraw the reference to "fraud," we should also invite the minister to withdraw that reference, which is just as unparliamentary.
Mr. Speaker: Quite obviously, both honourable members have taken a very hard view of this. In the spirit of compromise, if both honourable members did get carried away, and to maintain the decorum and dignity of this House having regard to the language and the temper in which it was used, if indeed the minister did make that reference, I ask him to withdraw that reference.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I did make the reference, and I will withdraw it. Also --
Mr. Speaker: That is all we need, thank you.
Having done that, which I presume was part of the cause for the response from the member for York South, I ask him to reconsider.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, given that the word I used has been deemed by the parliamentary authorities to be unparliamentary, I certainly withdraw it. I would still like an answer to my question from the minister.
Mr. Speaker: Having said that, we will move right along with a new question.
Hon. Mr. Drea: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: It was also mentioned by the leader of the third party during some of his latter remarks, in attempting to deal with the point of order, that in his view I had made reference to his integrity. If that is his view, then whatever he considers were reflections upon his integrity -- not his ability, but his integrity -- I will withdraw them as well.
Mr. Wrye: Have you got another one to withdraw?
Mr. Rae: I do not know what else I can withdraw. I do not have any more bones to throw to the minister.
An hon. member: He still has not answered your question.
Mr. Rae: I think the answer to the question will have to await another day.
SPARTON OF CANADA LTD.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Industry and Trade. On February 15, the minister made a statement to this House with respect to Sparton of Canada Ltd. The minister advised the House that his information at that time was that 50 per cent of the people who were on indefinite layoff, or 34 people, would be recalled at the London plant.
Is the minister aware that not only have these 34 people not been recalled as of this date, which is some two weeks after the mid-April date on which he advised us they would be recalled, but also the seven people who were temporarily recalled at the time he made his statement have since been laid off as well? What is the minister prepared to do to restore employment at the Sparton plant in London?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, to answer the question initially asked, the information I provided to the House at the time was simply the information provided as a result of an inquiry made by us to the company. That information was transmitted to the House. It was presumably right at the time and I presume there has been no difference since that time.
It may be that business conditions have altered, alternative steps have been taken in the industry and perhaps there have been other people laid off. I am not reflecting on that particular situation. I could relate to two or three other layoffs the honourable member might like to raise questions about and two or three other places where people have been recalled. So there are plenty of incidents of both.
Mr. Rae: At that same time, the minister also made a statement that the plant at Campbellford would be making what he called a new product. Information in January from both the Liberal Minister of State (Trade) and the Liberal Minister of Supply and Services in Ottawa indicates that what the Campbellford plant will be making is the same sonobuoy system that was previously made in London prior to the strike which led the company to ship much of its product to the United States.
Can the minister confirm that information for the House? Would he therefore not like to reconsider his basic judgement that the Campbellford plant is doing new work that was not being done prior to this time in London, when the evidence suggests overwhelmingly that what is planned at Campbellford is exactly the same production that was previously done in London? That again leads to the conclusion that what we have here is a company that is moving its operation to a nonunion plant from a plant where collective bargaining and a collective agreement have been in place.
Hon. Mr. Walker: I stand by exactly what I said in the House when I gave the information. I related at the time that I was merely providing the information supplied to me by officials of Sparton of Canada. If that information is incorrect then they are the ones who have made the incorrect observation. I happen to think it was probably accurate. I am prepared to write and find out whether it is or not, and I am prepared to report the details to the member.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, the minister will be well aware of the rather strong differences that were expressed when that particular operation took place. It may very well be that the information given to the minister by the company was accurate at the time.
I would like to know what mechanism is in place within the ministry to follow up and keep a continuing check on situations similar to this one, so that what the minister was told five or six months ago continues to be correct and he is not just being sold a bill of goods after which they walk away and do something quite different. How does the minister know what the continuing effect is?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member is suggesting that we have some kind of cross-examination process whereby we go in and examine every two months the verification of any information provided by the company, we do not have that. We would have to rely on any complaint that might be raised by other people in this House or by people who work within the plant. Presumably that is the way in which this matter has come forward.
I am prepared to check into the matter further and find out if the information I had then is accurate today.
Mr. Rae: What has happened here is that the minister has simply transmitted to the House, holus-bolus, basically self-serving information from the company involved and he has ignored the information that has been forthcoming from the trade union and former executives of the company.
In the light of that fact, why does the minister not make a genuine inquiry, rather than simply going to the company and then transmitting that information to the House, holding it out to be absolutely correct when the information we are getting now is that the information coming from the company has been less than the whole truth?
Hon. Mr. Walker: The leader of the third party may be indicating that the officials of Sparton are lying, and if that is the case, we will obtain more information. I am not prepared to say they are lying. The information I had, I took to be true on face value. I cannot imagine that people would be sending me lies, but they may be and I will check it out. However, if they are telling the truth, perhaps the member who has raised this question may be prepared to make an apology for having said that of the people at Sparton in London.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier-in-waiting, the Minister of Energy, regarding Ontario Hydro's proposal to increase electrical rates by some 9.7 per cent this year and by some 33 per cent over the next three years.
The report by the Ontario Energy Board stated two years ago: "It is recommended that an examination of capital expenditure and cost controls be undertaken by the board in the near future." Again last year the board stated: "However, the board must admit that system costs are heavily impacted by the capital program and that little can be done by the board in the way of economy measures to reduce costs without effective participation in the determination of the system expansion program."
In view of this, will the minister instruct Ontario Hydro and the Ontario Energy Board, as a first priority, to hold hearings to examine Ontario Hydro's system expansion program and its effects on driving up electrical costs?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows -- in fact, I think the advertisements are in the papers today; they were in yesterday -- the Ontario Energy Board now has established some dates for its public hearings to review the proposal for the 1984 bulk rate. Therefore, the only matter before the Ontario Energy Board now will be the bulk rate for 1984.
I think it is important that we get this in proper perspective, because the speculation with respect to what rates may be in other years is not unlike what happened a year ago when we had all sorts of speculation on that subject, only to find that the rate request for 1984 was much less than that people were talking about a year ago.
As we know, the Ontario Energy Board will start its hearings the end of May, I believe. There will be ample opportunity for the public generally to make their representations with respect to the proposal made by Hydro for their rates for 1984.
Mr. Kerrio: The minister must be aware that they were not willing to allow the energy board to delve into these programs.
In view of Ontario Hydro's $3-million "Go Electric" media campaign designed to bring back the "Live Better Electrically" era and to increase consumption by 3.7 per cent this year and four per cent next year -- although the actual increase last year dropped to 0.8 per cent -- I wonder whether, in Ontario Hydro's desperation to find markets for its large and growing surplus of electricity, the minister is going to continue to allow this kind of advertising program.
In view of Ontario Hydro's capital expansion decisions, which now are made in private, as the minister knows, will he charge the Ontario Energy Board, or probably a select committee of this Legislature, to review the financial perils of Hydro's present course? Does he not think it is time we reconstituted the select committee, which was the only time we ever saw into the workings of Ontario Hydro?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I think the member would be reasonable and fair enough to agree that at this moment in the province, when we look with some cautious optimism in so far as economic recovery is concerned, we should be very pleased that we have the electricity resource that we have in this province on which to build. I think it is to the credit of those who have been charged with the responsibility over the years, in so far as the public utility is concerned, that we are in such a strong energy position with respect to our electrical capacity.
If the member reads his own Niagara Falls Evening Review, he will notice the economic impact the Darlington operation is having right in his home city of Niagara Falls; the jobs that are there because of the contracts awarded to Provincial Engineering. That newspaper carried a picture of equipment leaving that great city, part of that great riding, and going to that particular project.
That is jobs, and that is the language the people want to hear. The public utility has kept pace with this and in fact is building its capacity so there will be a great degree of predictability that as Ontario continues in its economic recovery, we will have this great energy strength in our electrical system. I think Hydro is being very responsible, in so far as its program is concerned, in making sure the electrical option is well and clearly known to the people of this province.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, is it not then at this time that the minister himself should refer Hydro's capital expenditure program to the Ontario Energy Board, as was done in 1976, so we can have a full understanding of the cost structure that goes into the rates and stop this ad hoc, year-by-year jacking up of the rates when everyone from the public who wishes to participate is working in the fog because not all the facts come to light at the Ontario Energy Board hearings?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I hardly need remind my learned friend of the history of this public utility in this province, charged as it is with the mandate under the Power Corporation Act of providing electricity to its customers in this province at the lowest cost consistent with good business practice.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Power at cost: that has been the watchword, and I think we should be giving this utility far more credit for what it has done. Just look at its history of rates, all up for public review starting at the end of May.
LAYOFFS AT ALLEN INDUSTRIES CANADA
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Trade. With the announcement late last week of the sixth plant in Hamilton to be permanently shut down and the loss of 200 employees at Allen Industries Canada, I wonder whether the minister was aware of the decision to close permanently the Allen Industries fibre production plant in Stoney Creek, which was leaked last Thursday? If so, why did he not inform some of the local officials, who were taken by surprise by this announcement?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, maybe I am missing something here, but it seems to me the plant closed last December with the loss of the employees and did not close just last week. What the honourable member heard last week, which was apparently leaked out -- I was not aware at the time that it was coming forward -- was the decision that the company had rejected the request that it reconsider its position and reopen the fibre products plant.
They have continued, of course, with the trim plant, but I wonder whether perhaps the member has made a mistake and missed reading the newspaper last December, when in fact this plant closed. He must have overlooked it, because my understanding is that that is when it occurred. The announcement of it was back in September 1982; the closure was December 31, 1982. Has he missed these 200 employees in that period of time, or what has been the problem? I wonder if he could answer that.
Mr. Mackenzie: The answer to that is very simple. The minister well knows we had a layoff and a temporary shutdown last September, but we now have a permanent plant closure.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Mackenzie: Can the minister tell us --
Mr. Speaker: That is better.
Hon. Mr. Welch: That was December 31.
Mr. Mackenzie: The minister should talk to some of the local officials.
In as much as the production of this plant that remains, plus the replacement production for the auto industry, is now being moved by Dayco, the Daytona, Florida, head office of this company, to a plant in Illinois, can the minister tell us what he is doing to see that the production, which might result in the protection of the jobs of the workers, stays here in Canada and does not add to our deficit?
If he is not prepared to do something about the production and the decision of a branch plant once again to move the operation out of Canada, what is he going to do for the workers at Allen Industries?
Hon. Mr. Walker: It is actually being moved to Richmond, Virginia, not to Illinois. But there is a rationalization going on. There is a bit of sketchy information.
I talked to our people this morning, and the information from the Hamilton office is that they still feel optimistic that something can be done relative to an application under the industry and labour adjustment program. There have been considerable discussions now, and even though the announcement last Friday appears to close the door, there is still some feeling on the part of our Hamilton office that something can be done relative to the ILAP application, and of course our people are continuing to try to promote that and to continue the operation.
While there are 200 employees who regrettably are lost in this situation if the closure from December continues -- and obviously it is continuing, by the sound of the announcement from last weekend -- nevertheless, the trim plant is still going forward with the employees it has; I think it is about 140 employees. So there is some continuance of the operation there.
We hope that somehow ILAP can be involved in the process to encourage this plant to continue its operations here. That would be our goal. Our people still think with some optimism that it can be done. However, I think it was certainly disquieting to have the information of the review that came forward as of last weekend.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I am shocked that the minister should be speaking on behalf of the company and saying rationalization has caused the company to move to the United States. Is he not the Minister of Industry and Trade for Ontario? Why is it every time we hear of a plant closing in this province the minister stands in the House and justifies it on the basis of rationalization when these are jobs going outside the province and the country?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, that is a totally ludicrous question posed by the honourable member and she should know better. If she would pay attention, she would know better than to ask that kind of question. I was not defending the company position. The question was asked of me. The information I had was that it was a rationalizing process. I was imparting the best information I have. What would the member rather have me do? Would she have me impart some other information to her? I suppose she would.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. He will recall that my leader asked a question about the expenditure on Suncor earlier this week. I am asking the minister a question about his advertising budget. For the second year in a row, the Treasurer has not cut his advertising budget. The figures show that in the past year he spent another $40 million on advertising and related activities in a year of restraint.
Will he give an undertaking to the House, one he would not give me last year, that he will cut the budget for advertising by two thirds or advocate that within the cabinet in order that he can meet his obligations, for instance, in the fields of the implementation of Bill 82, assisting municipalities with welfare costs, properly funding the health care system, assisting farmers or providing relief to taxpayers in this province?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, normally the division of gross allocations to ministries is done internally not by the Treasury. I set an overall target for the policy fields, and they in turn allocate them to ministers, who break them up into the component parts of their budgets. Each year, for as long as I have been here, Management Board and Treasury have been charged with the responsibility of reallocating as pressures build on spending, usually in health care. We do that successfully by finding offsets within government.
I suppose it is in that area that the relative need to disseminate information is weighed against the relative need for any other government spending. It easily may be the member's opinion that we spend too much letting the public know something about the availability of programs, but I suspect most members of the House will have some calls this week, either of thanks or inquiry, from the senior citizens of the province who read the ads telling them they are getting half of last year's taxes back --
Mr. Bradley: They say spend it on administration.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Just a second. Many of them still call. Had we not had the ads in the paper explaining things, I am quite sure the member knows his own personal case load would have been much higher last week. It simply said: "This is the way it is. This is how much you get. These are the rules, and you can expect it thus and when." I am sure the member also knows that many --
Mr. Bradley: Does that cost $40 million?
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please. Time is running out.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We send out something like $400 million to $500 million through these programs. The public has a right to know where to expect its money, when to expect it and how the program is designed. That is not advertising. It is too had that, because we run a good government, every time we put any notice in the paper the members over there get all upset because they think we are beating them.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, surely the Treasurer is aware that in the course of one year the total advertising budget went from $26 million to more than $40 million. How can he seek to justify that? Could he and would he not be in a position as Treasurer to implement a restraint program with his ministries and suggest that each and every ministry cut its budget by 20 or 25 per cent? Is he not aware that General Foods spends only $23 million nationally and General Motors spends $24 million? Does he not think his advertising expenditures are somewhat obscene?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I would only need to compare them to those of the federal Liberal government, which is the biggest single advertiser in Canada.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The question was, "Would the Treasurer not implement a restraint program?"
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, he was able to use the word "obscene." He asked, did I not think they were obscene. Was that not a question?
Mr. Speaker: No. The first question is the one we have to answer.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I thought I had my choice.
Mr. Speaker: No. The question was, "Would the Treasurer not implement a program of restraint?"
Hon. F. S. Miller: The spending in 1981 was $40 million. The spending in 1981-82 was $40 million.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, does the Treasurer not feel just a little bit embarrassed? Does he not feel --
Mr. Wrye: No. New question.
Mr. Foulds: Then he knows no shame at all, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Foulds: Does the Treasurer not recognize, if he knows no embarrassment, that there is a very real difference between self-serving advocacy advertising, which this government and the federal Liberal government have wholly and totally endorsed, and legitimate advertising which the public of Ontario needs about its government programs? Will he not at least cut back totally on his advocacy advertising?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, there were three questions. I do not feel the least little bit embarrassed to be a part of this great team over here under the leadership of the Premier (Mr. Davis).
PROCLAMATION OF ACT
Mr. Charlton: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment, Mr. Speaker. It has been three and a half years since the spills bill was passed and the major reason for the holdup in terms of proclamation has been the regulations.
Last fall, the draft regulations were widely circulated. His ministry has been receiving comments from industry and from environment groups. Can he give us some kind of an indication of his intentions in terms of the proclamation of that piece of legislation?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I would hope to do it as expeditiously as possible. There is one factor which is delaying it somewhat at the moment.
As the honourable member knows, we have received responses from quite a wide variety of people. One of the most prevalent concerns is related to the availability of insurance to provide adequate protection for haulers. We have retained an expert consultant in the insurance industry who is examining that for us. As soon as that information is available, I will make it available to the people who have responded to the material that was circulated. I would hope we could resolve the outstanding concerns and proceed with it quickly this spring.
ARTICLE IN NEWSPAPER
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege: A little earlier, the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) rose to his feet on a point of privilege to say that he had made certain statements that caused some controversy yesterday.
I had spoken to a reporter late yesterday afternoon and gave to him what was my opinion of what actually happened. In view of the statements by the member for Erie, I would like to offer my apologies to the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) for any embarrassment I may have caused.
Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I too was involved in the situation that was just described by the chief government whip. In the light of the clarification made today by the member for Erie, I would like to offer my unqualified apology to the member for Niagara Falls and indicate to him that it was a clear case of mistaken identity.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I too was involved in a discussion about that matter with the reporter and I too would like to offer my apologies to the honourable member.
Mr. Speaker: The co-operation is overwhelming.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, this whole series of apologies proves one thing: many of us here thought these people did not hear well and now we are convinced that they not only do not hear well, but they also do not see well.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
SMALL CLAIMS COURTS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Norton, first reading of Bill 28, An Act to amend the Small Claims Courts Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the amendments I am introducing today will cure a number of problems in small claims court practice which have come to light in recent months.
The bill will provide for interest to run on small claims court judgements in the same manner and at the same rate as interest currently runs on judgements of the Supreme Court and country and district courts.
The bill will also clarify the right of a small claims court agent to file an execution against land in the sheriff's office as a step in the enforcement of the judgement.
The bill also makes provision for claims to be served, where necessary, by a combination of service on an adult member of the defendant's household together with mail service. This new method of service has been tested in the provincial court, civil division, in Metropolitan Toronto and has proved to be effective and time saving.
The bill also makes several other minor amendments.
ESTATES ADMINISTRATION AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Welch, first reading of Bill 29, An Act to amend the Estates Administration Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to reintroduce today a bill to amend the Estates Administration Act. This is substantially the same bill that was introduced two years ago, but due to a shortage of legislative time I was unable to proceed with the legislation at that time.
As I indicated to the Legislature earlier, and I think most of the members are aware, during the past few years certain problems have been encountered in attempting to deal with the estates of persons dying in Ontario who leave beneficiaries in the Soviet Union and these concerns have been brought to the attention of my ministry.
It appears that exorbitant charges by the Soviet government or its agents and a low exchange rate for conversion of dollars into roubles result in a beneficiary receiving less than the amount he should receive.
While it is clear that Ontario legislation cannot by any means completely rectify such problems, we should attempt to prevent, if not substantially alleviate, such abuses.
A private member's bill, Bill 8, has also been introduced recently by my colleague the Justice critic for the Liberal Party, the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt). Although Bill 8 is an attempt to alleviate these problems, its confiscatory nature makes it impossible for me to give it my support.
The Estates Administration Amendment Act 1983 contains a provision whereby a court order is required before money can be paid out of an estate in Ontario to a beneficiary in certain countries to be designated by regulation.
The provision is based on legislation in the United States, such as subsection 22(18) of the Surrogate Courts Procedure Act of New York, under which a surrogate court may withhold payment of money unless it is satisfied that the claimant will have the "benefit or use and control" of it.
Money can properly be withheld if it appears that its full value will not reach the beneficiary by reason of various fees and taxes and an unrealistic exchange rate.
A further provision in the Estates Administration Amendment Act 1983 requires a person who receives property in respect of which an order has been made as agent, solicitor or signee to file a report to the surrogate clerk for Ontario in a form and containing such information as will be prescribed by regulation. If the property is transferred directly to a foreign beneficiary, the personal representative must file such a report.
Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the House the very significant day of May 3 in Polish history and the subsequent celebrations that will take place today.
The Constitution of 1791 brought in many new reforms, such as the elimination of class distinctions, the protection of the individual under the law, parliamentary representation and freedom of religion. The Constitution of 1791 is regarded as one of the most progressive and advanced constitutions of the time in Europe. It is considered by Poles as marking the political and moral rebirth of the Polish nation.
Tonight the Polish flag will be raised at Toronto city hall as a symbol of the continuing struggle for the freedom and independence of Poland. I would hereby like to give notice to every member who would like to attend tonight's flag-raising ceremony to lend his or her support to the struggle for freedom and independence for Poland.
THRONE DEBATE SCHEDULE
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Before the orders of the day, Mr. Speaker, the House leaders had agreed to divide the time equally during the throne speech debate up to the time of the final speakers, which will occur on Thursday. At this point Mr. McFedries, the Assistant Clerk, tells me that the time remaining will allow everybody a total of about six hours and three minutes to six hours and five minutes.
As it works out, the Progressive Conservative Party has two hours left, the Liberal Party one hour and the New Democratic Party two hours. The whips have agreed to go by this schedule, and I ask the clerks to co-operate in that timing. Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether it would be in order to ask the Clerk or you to intercede when the time has been used.
Mr. Speaker: I think there is something wrong with the arithmetic.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Those were the total times as supplied by the Clerk.
Mr. Speaker: Okay.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: It would be plus another 15 minutes, right?
Mr. Speaker: Right.
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. Conway: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: For the record more than anything else, my colleague the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), who was in the midst of a rather lively and, many of us felt, quite interesting intervention yesterday, is unfortunately not able to be here with us to conclude it this afternoon. I just wanted to have the record indicate that he is with the other two House leaders, dark in the recesses of this building, contemplating ways and means of altering the rules.
So on the member's behalf I just wanted to clear that for the record, lest anyone who reads the proceedings of this place wonder why he concluded his remarks as he did last night.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate in the throne speech debate and I extend to you my courteous greetings on your continuing in the chair of this assembly during this session.
I intend today to limit my remarks entirely to the topic of what has become known as the Norcen affair. Mr. Speaker, I know you will recall that last Friday I tried unsuccessfully to persuade you that this was a matter of urgent public importance, so I rise now on the first occasion available to me to pursue my concerns with respect to that affair.
There are two questions in the Norcen affair. Was a false issuer bid circular issued by Norcen Energy Resources Ltd. on October 27, 1981? Did Mr. Conrad Black influence the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) or the Ontario Securities Commission in their consideration of this question?
Conrad Black and his brother Montegu Black can be safely said to control Norcen. The report of the investigation by staff of the commission says, "Conrad Black has stated that if the criterion of control is the power to control the policies of Norcen if he wished to do so, then he does control the company." Mr. Black has brought his influence to bear in private meetings and conversations and in public comment. I am speaking of influence, not -- and I repeat, not -- of corruption or bribery, or money changing hands, or promises of future benefits for present favours or anything illegal.
The Norcen board on October 16, 1981, authorized the purchase by the company of up to 4.99 per cent of its issued common shares through the facilities of the Toronto and Montreal exchanges. The issuer bid circular was dated October 27, 1981, mailed to its shareholders on October 28 and 29 and filed with the commission on November 4. It was signed by Edward G. Battle, president and chief executive officer, and certified in paragraph 8, "There are no material changes or plans for material changes in the affairs of Norcen which have not been generally disclosed."
In paragraph 7, under the caption "Material Changes," the circular stated, "Norcen has no present plans or proposals for material changes in its affairs, including no plans or proposals to liquidate, sell, lease or exchange all or substantially all of the assets of Norcen or to amalgamate Norcen with any body corporate or to make any other major changes in the business, corporate structures, management or personnel of Norcen." The circular contained no reference to Hanna Mining Co. or to the ownership by Norcen of shares of Hanna Mining Co.
On October 26, 1981, Norcen owned 203,700 shares of Hanna. On October 27, 1981, Black was informed by Jim Connacher of Gordon Securities that a block of 580,000 Hanna shares was available. On October 28, 1981, Norcen bought these shares, bringing its total ownership to 783,700 shares, or 8.8 per cent. The securities commission has mishandled its consideration of the first question by the illegality of its proceedings and no longer has any jurisdiction to determine whether misrepresentation took place.
Moreover, the conclusion reached by the commission raises serious concerns. The charge of misrepresentation under the Securities Act cannot now be laid. The act provides that every person or company who makes a statement in any issuer bid circular required to be filed or furnished under the act or the regulations that, at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which it is made, is a misrepresentation, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine or imprisonment or both.
"Misrepresentation" means an untrue statement of material fact or an omission to state a material fact that is required to be stated. "Material fact" means a fact that significantly affects or would be reasonably be expected to have a significant effect on the market price or value of the securities.
The first question continues to be investigated by the Metropolitan Toronto Police with the advice and assistance, and indeed under the direction, of the crown law office of the Ministry of the Attorney General to determine whether charges should be laid under the Criminal Code. The answer to the first question must, therefore, await the conclusion of that investigation, now entering its second year, and the report of the Attorney General to this assembly. The Attorney General advised me by letter dated March 17, in response to a question I asked him in the assembly on February 21, that the police investigation may be finished by mid-May, but it may well take longer.
Why did the second question ever arise? It arose because of an ill-advised meeting in mid-May 1982 of the Attorney General and his senior civil law advisers with Mr. Conrad Black and Mr. F. A. M. Huycke, QC, a partner of Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt and a director of Norcen.
It was ill-advised because if an audience with the Attorney General was to be given he should have been properly briefed. Had he been properly briefed and had he asked for a pre-meeting memorandum or a letter from Mr. Black or Mr. Huycke about the serious allegations which were going to be made at the meeting, the meeting would not have taken place.
The meeting disclosed a police investigation under way by the Metropolitan Toronto Police. Indeed, a search warrant had been executed shortly before the meeting at the offices of Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt.
Serious allegations were made about a lawyer in the ministry, Mr. Brian Johnston, who had been advising the Metropolitan Toronto fraud squad officers who initiated the police investigation. This reflected on the police officers conducting the investigation.
This meeting precipitated a flurry of activity within the Ministry of the Attorney General. In the event, Mr. Johnston was removed from the investigation and Mr. Harry Black, no relation, was assigned to the investigation. Mr. Roderick McLeod, then head of the crown law office and now Deputy Solicitor General, had a series of meetings with officers of the fraud squad and officers of the Ontario Securities Commission, as well as internally.
These serious allegations, which were not put in writing, were found to be groundless. This flurry of activity raised apprehension that the Metropolitan Toronto fraud squad was being told to lay off. It was as a result of this activity and these concerns that I questioned the Attorney General and his senior advisers during the consideration of his estimates before the standing committee on administration of justice on December 15, 1982.
My own information substantiated the response of Mr. Roderick McLeod at that time that no pressure was brought to bear on the Metropolitan Toronto Police to back off and, as I have said, the police investigation, of which we await the results, continues.
Mr. Huycke and Mr. Conrad Black should have been required to make their allegations formally in writing and whatever internal investigations were then required could have taken place. I accept that the Attorney General had no further meetings with Mr. Black. I await a full explanation at an appropriate time about the removal of Mr. Johnston from any role in the investigation. While there were questions of propriety about what Mr. Black and Mr. Huycke did in seeking the meeting, they did nothing wrong.
I turn now to the securities commission and its role in this affair. I have said the commission has mishandled the affairs by the illegality of its proceedings and there now are serious questions about its conclusion.
On Friday, April 22, in the debate on interim supply, I referred to the relevant parts in sections of the Securities Act and there is no need to repeat them.
The commission is charged with the administration of the Securities Act. That act lays out a broad scheme for the regulation of the securities industry implementing the two purposes of the Kimber commission to which the minister referred on Thursday last in his statement to the House. The day-to-day administration of the act is carried out principally by the director by delegation.
There are, however, two separate and distinct functions which the commission cannot delegate, which only it can discharge and which it can discharge only in accordance with the precise prescriptions of the statute, part V, administrative proceedings, reviews and appeals, and part VI, investigations.
There is an investigation by the commission into allegations that anyone has broken the act or the Criminal Code in relation to trading in securities, and the decision whether or not "it appears to the commission that any person or company may have" done so is a judicial proceeding -- quasi-judicial in the language of administrative law -- not an administrative proceeding.
This distinction is the single most essential distinction known to administrative law. In the Securities Act, this assembly granted the commission wide investigative and inquisitorial powers. These are the powers set out in part VI, investigations. They are not -- and I repeat, not -- available to the commission in any other part of the act. These powers may be exercised only upon the basis of a sworn statement.
The commission is a creature of the statute. It is a creature of this assembly. It is accountable to this assembly. This assembly has said clearly and unequivocally to the commission: "The special circumstances of the integrity of the securities markets so far as they are within the jurisdiction of this assembly requires you to have extraordinary powers. These powers shall be exercised as the statute requires and in no other way." We have said to the commission, "The public interest requires that you have these powers." We have said to the public that these powers can only be exercised in accordance with the code of procedure we have established.
The commission did not so act. It ignored part VI of the act which is its sole authority. It acted illegally in its investigation.
The commission has no prosecutorial discretion. If the evidence is there, the commission must so report to the minister, It is mandatory. Prosecutorial discretion, as the Attorney General well knows, having expressed it in what has now become a classic statement made in this assembly in his decision not to prosecute Francis Fox, is a discretion exercisable after there is the evidentiary basis to proceed. The commission has no such discretion.
In the case of a charge of misrepresentation, only the minister has prosecutorial discretion. The minister has prosecutorial discretion after a report is received by the minister from the commission that an offence under the act or the code may have been committed.
If the commission had followed the procedures laid out in part VI, then I would not be speaking in this assembly today about this matter. It would be doubly so if, in following those procedures, the commission had dealt with possible offences under the act and the Criminal Code.
I have respect for the statutory procedures provided and for the integrity of the commission collectively and individually. The collective and individual failure to understand the commission's mandate is not a failure of the statute, it is a failure to understand the essential elements of administrative law.
The statement by the minister last Thursday and the correspondence tabled at that time now also raises serious concerns about the conclusion of the commission. There is obviously a serious difference of opinion between the crown law office and the commission staff on the one hand and the commission on the other.
The commission has stated in its letter to the minister of April 26:
"In the commission's view, there was not a 'material change' in the affairs of Norcen or a 'material fact' in relation to securities of Norcen within the meaning of the Securities Act until the board of directors of Norcen or the senior officers, in the belief that their decision would be confirmed by the board of directors, decided to implement a specific course of action.
"Thus in the view of the commission the material change occurred only when Norcen decided on a course of action: in this case, to make a tender offer for 51 per cent of the outstanding Hanna shares, disclosure of which was made in accordance with the act."
Mr. Conrad Black, Mr. Edward G. Battle and Mr. Montegu Black are the senior officers of Norcen. Mr. Black and his brother, Montegu Black, control Norcen. By virtue of that control, the senior officers would believe that a decision they made would be confirmed by the board.
We come back to the events leading up to and surrounding October 27, 1981. Did the commission direct its attention to whether, before or about October 27, 1981, these senior officers had made a decision to implement a material change in the affairs of Norcen in relation to Hanna? What was their intention when, at the time the issuer bid circular was signed and being mailed on October 27 and 28, 1981, they increased Norcen's holdings from 203,700 to 783,700 shares of Hanna?
What light does the report of the investigating counsel of the commission shed on this question? The report is a lengthy one and is stated to be "informal." It consists of an index, a chronology of events from January 1979 to July 1982, the report itself of some 38 pages and in the form of a memorandum from investigative counsel G. W. Curran and David Knight to John F. Leybourne, deputy director, enforcement, of the Ontario Securities Commission, and a series of exhibits.
The investigation was instigated by the complaint of Davies, Ward and Beck, Canadian counsel for the Hanna Mining Co., on April 13, 1982.
The report recommended that charges of misrepresentation and other charges under section 118 be laid under the act. It contains the following extended comment:
"Reasons for believing the Securities Act and its underlying policies have been violated: An undisclosed intent and misleading statements.
"In August 1981, when Conrad Black and Battle commenced Norcen's purchase of Hanna shares, they told a representative of Dominion Securities that among their potential long-term objectives was an exchange of their Hanna shares for Hanna's holdings of Iron Ore" -- that is, Iron Ore Co. of Canada Ltd. -- "or Labrador" -- which I think is Labrador Mining and Exploration Co. Ltd. -- "or both.
"At this time, Conrad Black had already discussed with the Humphrey family, the major Hanna shareholders, the possibility of allying with them to increase the Norcen position in Hanna on a friendly basis. He had spoken of a 'reciprocal relationship' between Norcen and Hanna (Hanna then owned 20 per cent of Labrador)," a company that was also controlled by Conrad Black and his brother, Montegu.
"Slightly less than one year later, Norcen had acquired 20 per cent of Hanna and Hanna's 20 per cent interest in Labrador. In a number of public disclosures during that period, Norcen stated only that its purchases of Hanna were for investment purposes: there was no mention of becoming the major shareholder of Hanna or of relieving Hanna of Labrador.
"In interviews with us" -- that is, the investigating counsel for the commission -- "the principals of Norcen have, no doubt sincerely, maintained their and the company's innocence of deception. We believe that they maintain this position because they are fixated on the two principal issues of the Cleveland litigation: whether Norcen intended to acquire 51 per cent of Hanna prior to announcing its tender offer in April 1982" -- the actual report has made an error in saying it was April 1981 -- "and whether Norcen ever wished for anything other than a friendly entry into Hanna.
"We do not believe that these are the issues under the Ontario Securities Act. For us the questions are (1) whether Norcen and its officers intended their ultimate result of significant ownership of Hanna and of Labrador long before they attained it and (2) whether they made the disclosure of such an intention required by law.
"We are of the view that a strong case can and should be made in an appropriate forum that Norcen and certain of its individual officers broke the law by making false statements about, and omitting to disclose, an intention which constituted a material fact, and decisions which constituted material changes, within the meaning of the act.
"The case to be made is this: Conrad Black, some time prior to August 1981, concluded that Hanna was an appropriate subject for planning by Norcen. The company was somewhat known through its involvement in Iron Ore. Its major shareholders were apparently discontented with its new, nonfamily management; they were acquainted with Black and seemed favourable to him. Hanna's involvement in natural resources held potential for assisting to attain one of Norcen's admitted goals: the derivation of 25 to 33 per cent of its earnings from assets diversified in the United States by the end of this decade.
"Black undoubtedly wanted Norcen's arrival to be friendly; he told us he was well aware of the dangers of a contested fight for control of a US company. But after George Humphrey was taken on to the Hanna board, Black was told he should deal directly with Hanna management. We suspect that Black was aware how unwelcoming management would be. Immediately after his referral to the board by Humphrey, he began Norcen's Hanna purchases.
"We would argue that at this time the Black brothers and Battle intended to acquire about 20 per cent of Hanna, quite possibly in part from the Humphrey family (three Humphrey estates were then thought by Black to be selling off Hanna stock for succession duties) and hopefully with the acquiesence of management. We cannot see any value to Norcen in the original 4.9 per cent position, whereas 20 per cent ownership offered Norcen the advantages already set out, plus the benefits of Canadianizing one or two resource companies and equity accounting for the Hanna holding.
"The reference by Battle at the September 9 meeting" -- I interpolate that as a meeting of the executive board of Norcen which took place in Calgary on September 9, 1981 -- "to an eventual possible 51 per cent position, while admittedly not a plan or intention at that point, indicates that the 4.9 per cent program was always seen in a context of acquiring a bigger stake; it was not a modest experimental investment but a step on the road to 15 or 20 per cent.
"The unexpected availability of the large block on October 27 provided an opportunity to accelerate the program. In spite of taking them public earlier than they wished (as Montegu Black said), and requiring them to exceed the authority given them by the executive committee, the Blacks and Battle quickly picked up the shares. They depicted this purchase to us as simply overshooting the 4.9 per cent mark but did not explain why, when they originally had anticipated taking several months to reach that point, they decided to jump far beyond it, at a price approximately $3 per share overmarket.
"We can see this decision as a step towards the larger goal, a concrete act in furtherance of an existing intention -- which intention ought to have been disclosed in the notice of intention," or, I interpolate, issuer hid circular, "of October 27," in a press release and a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States, "and in all subsequent disclosure documents.
"The hostile reaction of the Hanna board on November 4 appears to have prompted both the commissioning of preliminary research into US takeovers prepared for Norcen in that month and Conrad Black's calling Louise Humphrey to sound her out. We suggest that Norcen would still have preferred quiet growth with the assistance of the Humphreys but was considering then that a tender offer might be necessary to prompt meaningful dialogue: as eventually it was. The Norcen people maintain that they always had an uncertainty about their ends; the evidence, however, is more consistent with an uncertainty only about the particular means to their ends.
"As we have indicated above, we are of the opinion that there is evidence for a respectable case that Norcen and certain of its officers have given to the public information with respect to Norcen's proposed investment in Hanna which was untrue and which was known to be untrue by the parties involved at the time it was disseminated.
"In brief, Norcen could be said to have disclosed through its spokespersons only an intention to acquire a modest investment in Hanna when its actual intention (at least of some of its principals) was to acquire possession of at least 20 per cent and possibly as much as 51 per cent of that company, and as well to acquire a significant -- if not a control -- position in Labrador or Iron Ore or both."
The questions remain -- and these are my questions: Was there a decision by the senior officers of Norcen on or before October 27, 1981, to take a significant position in Hanna? Was that decision a material change which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to have a significant effect on the market price or value of the common shares of Norcen?
The commission did not appear to confront or answer the question of evidence credibility. It is for these reasons that I have serious concerns about the conclusion of the commission.
It remains entirely and solely the responsibility of the Attorney General to restore public confidence that there is no such thing in our society's administration of justice as "influence in high places."
I do not underestimate the difficulty of the decision which the Attorney General will be called upon to make, whether or not to proceed with criminal charges. We are all aware, as Mr. Justice Martin said recently, of the stigma which attaches to any person charged with a criminal offence and the personal anxiety which this causes. I do not envy the Attorney General his responsibility.
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, once again I am pleased to have an opportunity to make a few remarks in response to the throne speech.
Mr. Conway: Like Uncle Tom, do you think you will be Premier?
Mr. Kennedy: I have no plans to make any plans in that direction.
The throne speech was one that covered a wide variety of provincial issues. The underlying essence of it was the major thrusts towards recovery of the economy in putting people back to work. There are some interesting things going on out there in our economy.
I do not think there is any question that the major issue in Ontario and in Canada, and one could easily go beyond our borders as well, is economic recovery. The federal budget is a step in this recovery. I had some difficulty in leaping for joy the way certain people in the business community have, though I give credit for the incentives and encouragement that are provided to business in the short term, which I hope will turn into a stabilizing recovery that will continue in the years ahead.
What worried me was the increase in the federal deficit of some 26 or 28 per cent. Somewhere along the road this has to be paid off, although we have been saying that for years and we seem to keep going merrily along with increasing deficits. It has always been my understanding that when one has a debt, at some point along the way one has to account for that.
I have certain reservations about the technique used, but we will certainly applaud the incentives that have been given to business and hope they will provide the spark and incentive to turn things around.
In the federal budget speech the issue of jobs was addressed. The provincial government recognizes that this is an area of great concern, which is why our own throne speech made reference to it.
I have had some words of encouragement from people in business and industry. For example, last Thursday the Ontario Research Foundation held a seminar in which I had the privilege of participating. People in both small and large businesses in Mississauga were invited to come. There was a response from 70 or 80 people who came from a wide variety of small businesses, and a note of optimism permeated the meeting. This was encouraging.
I know things such as this -- there are others I will touch on in a minute are cold comfort to the person who simply does not have a job. But if there is this encouragement, this expansionism in industry, the end result and the spinoff from these various industries make for more jobs.
Another interesting event, held at noon today, was an announcement by Xerox at Ontario Place. They unveiled some new photocopiers and other products. They have a plant in Mississauga, it so happens, at the research foundation location. I note in the press release that Xerox Canada embarked on a vigorous Canadian value-added program nine years ago. At that time, there were only 14 employees in the manufacturing division. Today, more than 450 are working there. These are some of the additional jobs that have been created in Ontario and are mentioned from time to time by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the Premier (Mr. Davis).
These are in the area of high technology and the production of computers and so on. One of the things I have been advocating is a program of training people in high technology, the software industries and so on. Such a program would be one of the best hopes for the future in training and retraining.
In the past I have mentioned the need to take a very hard look at matching the need for jobs with those jobs that are available, training our young people and retraining others who are out of work because of the changed economy and production so that these jobs will be available to them. This would seem to be one of the best hopes for our young people and others today.
I want to address a very sensitive problem that has been discussed in this House from time to time, the question of nuclear disarmament. It is not really within the ambit of provincial jurisdiction, or it has not been, but we are people too. We are Canadians. We are most interested in this.
There are very vocal activists in our western democracies who demonstrate in various ways and publicize their great concern over the nuclear weapons buildup. They, of course, advocate disarmament. That is all very well, and I agree with that, but not in any unilateral fashion. A call by these demonstrators for disarmament by the west, seems to me to be missing in what I hear from demonstrations by those deeply concerned individuals.
There is no doubt, if a void is made, the Russians will move in. There is an interesting quote from an article in the Sun regarding Valentyn Moroz, who spent nine years in Soviet prisons: "Anti-nuclear protesters are naïve if they believe the Soviets won't take advantage of western disarmament, a former Ukrainian political prisoner says." That, to me, is the key. If we can get the same message across in the eastern bloc of countries, then perhaps there would be some meaningful progress towards arms reduction.
The article quotes Moroz as going on to say that "demonstrators should picket in Moscow as well as in Toronto for peace and if they did, 'they would be arrested like I was.'" He also sends out the warning that "the Soviet Union would use western anti-nuclear sentiment to gain the upper hand."
There is a warning there. It is a concern I certainly share. I have as great a horror as anybody of nuclear war, or any other kind of war for that matter. One can think of the horrors of napalm flame-throwers and other conventional weapons and the horror and tragic cost of wars in general. With a nuclear war, obviously no one will win.
It was of some concern to me last fall when this question was placed on a municipal ballot. The vote came back at around 75 or 80 per cent support for disarmament. As I read a few reports, which were not all-encompassing or deeply researched, this seemed to be the overview of what transpired. The question must have been placed in some context that confused the voters who responded to it. For instance, I would have thought that 99.9 per cent plus of the respondents would be opposed to nuclear war, although that was not the question, and would be supportive of nuclear disarmament. It did not come through that way.
If the question included disarmament by all nations, I cannot conceive who would oppose it. I do not think any sane person either in an eastern or western nation would be opposed to that. I do not think citizens of any nation wish for war. If their leaders could get together and respond to what the people want, certainly we would be in for an era of peace and harmony.
As I have mentioned, there is no question that Russia has expansionist and imperialist ideas. We know that. The Russians have demonstrated them. Afghanistan is one of the latest examples, as well as the mid-European countries. They make mischief in Africa and so on.
If they really want to give evidence that they are non-aggressive, why do they not pull out of Afghanistan? That would be an encouraging sign to both east and west, if it were verified and if it were not done in some fashion that such a withdrawal was simply a ploy to cause us in the west to let down our guard, because one thing the Russians do understand is strength and firmness. But the west must show integrity and honesty in negotiations.
I am reminded of when they moved into Cuba with their missiles. Jack Kennedy demonstrated the effectiveness of a policy of firmness and integrity when they placed those rockets there. He laid it on the line and, as a result, they pulled out.
Think if those armaments were in place there today, 90 miles off the coast of the United States. Firmness was shown and it was obvious to them that this was not going to be allowed to go on. When they were withdrawn, the possibility of war diminished.
In my view, it is somewhat sad that right now the best possibility of preventing nuclear war or any other kind of war is to maintain military strength, military capability and a balance of power. I am one who advocates disarmament, but it has to be on a bilateral or multilateral basis. That is the message we have to get through to Moscow. We do not want to find ourselves with a modern-day Munich. We simply must match strength with strength.
Maybe it is a little naïve, but our own town of Mississauga has a twinning arrangement with a city in Japan. I guess it is encouraging that other cities in Canada do that. There is at least one in Alberta; there may be more. If we can do that, citizens of each nation could then get together.
Maybe it is a hopeless pipedream but, on the other hand, maybe it would be a small step towards showing some faith. The fact that we have the abhorrence of war that I am sure they do could be a small step towards harmony between east and west. I do not know, but these thoughts come to one who has a deep concern for our own nation and our own people, for this generation and for succeeding generations.
In any event, I am closing these few remarks to say that we must keep our western strength at a high level, because it is a time to remember who our friends are while we continue to work for peace on a bipartisan, sincere, genuine, verifiable basis.
I want to turn back for a moment to a subject mentioned earlier, the economy. I believe the recession has bottomed out, but it is going to be a long, hard pull to get back to a satisfactory employment and economic plateau.
As has been indicated, the unemployment rate may run at a higher level than we enjoyed during the so-called good years of the past decade and more. I do not need to say these difficult times disfigure our economic stability and, accordingly, our social stability, but I see signs of a turnaround in housebuilding. I believe, despite reservations about the federal budget and its large deficit, it will help give the thrust it should. It should be the leading effort towards recovery.
I had a gloomy forecast from an individual about so many young people out of work -- and that is where the high rates of unemployment are -- that possibly some young people never will be able to acquire jobs. Things have changed. It has been mentioned by some leading economists and politicians that instead of having an unemployment rate of three, three-and-a-half or four per cent, our way of life now is going to see six or seven per cent unemployed. That is cause for some despair.
With so many people coming on to the social programs, on public or social assistance, could we not move into an area where, through existing agencies, we could assist some of the elderly people who wish to remain in their own homes but who find the daily duties of home maintenance, the care that might be needed both within the house and outside, too onerous? This could be done on the basis of something like the foreign student programs, but this would be domestic. They might serve these elderly people and be paid for it and receive some benefits, some training and some experience in working in social areas.
This would have a two-point thrust. One, it would give meaningful responsibilities, work and duties to persons who otherwise are idle. There is nothing worse than idleness. Two, it would enable people to stay in their homes longer, rather than having to go into our overcrowded rest and retirement homes.
Mr. McClellan: Decent jobs with decent wages.
Mr. Kennedy: Relatively decent wages, whereby those who are attracted to it could combine it with work and work experience. Anything one learns can often open a door. The more experience a person has and can show on a résumé, the more opportunities may come about. It might be just that small, little extra that will get a young person into a career.
There is another suggestion I would like to put forward. As I travel along Highways 401 and 400, I note there is a very limited number of service centres. This is not the first time this matter has been raised in this chamber. We should get more competition out there and I think more opportunities should be provided. Such competition would be of benefit to tourists, to our tourism industry and to motorists.
It would start construction projects going and the spinoff from construction is tremendous. It would also be of great benefit to consumers. It could have a great appeal to tourist traffic coming into the province. There should be such facilities adjacent to more of these interchanges. I would like to see a forecast, some study or survey done, which would project the number of jobs that might spin off from that. I think there would be a considerable number.
We would have a response to the free market -- that draws some attraction from the opposition. The free market would be at work. The competitive spirit would be at work. There would be benefits from the materials used in construction, ongoing jobs, the provision of consumer products such as accommodation and so on to the facilities.
There is one other subject I want to touch on and that is the provision of parking for handicapped persons. Last week I introduced, for the second or third time, a bill which would put in place some authority whereby parking for the handicapped would be provided across the province on a mandatory basis.
I did not know I had such empathy with the opposition party member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. A. Reed). The member made reference to the fact there is now a special licence plate.
Mr. Kennedy: I will not overdo this. I don't want to have remonstrations from our own whip, so I promise him I will not get carried away. It was a very good move by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to provide licence plates for those handicapped who drive cars. That is very good, but what it does not do, of course, is ensure a parking space for those persons who want to park. There is a need to define the issue of parking spots. Right now it is done on a municipal basis and some shopping centres provide this service on a voluntary basis, but I have had complaints about spaces being taken up by other cars.
There is also a problem if, for instance, one of us were to drive a handicapped person in our car to a shopping plaza. The car is not designated as being owned by a handicapped person. I would like to see each person who is eligible for such a parking facility have a form of identification which can be placed on the dashboard or visor which will give access to such a space to the person rather than the vehicle.
I hope the minister responsible, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett), will take a look at this with a view to adding that extra bit that will mean so much to the people who are in need of those facilities. These facilities should be provided when the need is there for them. Not having them there, having them occupied by someone else, or having a limitation on them because when the handicapped people are being taken to whatever activity they are attending they are unable to be brought out at the proper door, does not help the people who have a need for these facilities.
With those few remarks I will close out by returning for a moment to the throne speech. On page 7, it says of the upcoming government programs, "Measures will be introduced to contribute to an enduring economic recovery which will create the jobs necessary to allow all Ontarians to lead productive lives, to strengthen the management of the province's affairs, and to respond to the critical concerns and needs of Ontarians."
Our throne speech is about our economic programs and I hope they will run in sympathy and empathy with the federal budget, which they describe as a national recovery program. I would like to be excused for a little cynicism, but halfway through the handouts that Mr. Lalonde was offering it occurred to me that maybe it is a Liberal recovery program. Perish the thought.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of the province and the great city of Mississauga.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Robinson): Before I recognize the member for Windsor-Sandwich, I have an announcement of great interest to the House. Pursuant to standing order 28, the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) yesterday.
This matter will be debated at 10:30 p.m. this evening.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks I would like to congratulate you on your promotion from the chairmanship of the standing committee on members' services to the chairmanship of the standing committee on social development. I trust your onerous task as chairman of that committee will be conducted in the same great, nonpartisan manner as in your previous task.
Mr. Conway: Where did Mr. Shymko go?
Mr. Wrye: He went to members' services and I have asked to be removed from that committee.
I want to suggest first, in making my remarks, that I appreciate the remarks of the previous speaker from the Conservative benches in so far as they gave proper praise and attention to the budget of my federal friend the Minister of Finance.
I wish I could reciprocate by saying I could find something of value in the speech from the throne. I have heard many as a journalist and this is my third as a member of this assembly. I regret this speech from the throne is perhaps the worst I have ever heard, either as a provincial member or a journalist, coming either from a provincial assembly or a federal assembly. There is absolutely nothing in this speech, just as there appears to be absolutely nothing this government has to offer the people of Ontario.
The months of neglect and negligence are turning into years. As my leader has suggested, it may turn into a decade of decline. As I stand in my place on this Tuesday of what some believe may be a momentous week in terms of the political climate of this province and this country, it seems to me one of the reasons the speech from the throne was so lacking in initiative is that there has been little initiative by this government as it awaits a decision by its leader, which I hope will be taken soon so that we can get back to the business of getting some progress in this province.
I want to speak on a number of issues in my remarks today. Perhaps a good place to start would be the bicentennial, because it is something the government has certainly not neglected. It is something which I think has added to the level of cynicism a great many people in this province feel.
Rather than use my own remarks, I want to plagiarize and read to the members a letter I received from a constituent of mine. It says it so much better than I could. The letter is dated April 20.
"It has come to my attention that in 1984 the provincial Conservative government intends to celebrate a bicentennial -- to the early Loyalists who came to Canada to escape the American Revolution -- and to spend $11 million to have a party.
"They had better get their facts first. The Loyalists did migrate to Canada during 1789 to 1791. Those wealthy gentry, 3,300, purchased their passage back to England, leaving the others to live prudently within frugal means. A United Empire Loyalist association was formed in Upper Canada in 1897. Therefore, this provincial government is historically incorrect in advising this event for 1984."
Now we get to the pertinent part. "Question: Is this a political ploy to have this happy party one year before an election, a coincidence?" I leave that to the members to answer. "It is appalling for any government to spend $11 million for such a reason during these poor economic times. It has no justification whatsoever."
As I said, I am just reading this nice lady's letter.
"Eleven million dollars could be put to better use in establishing 11 factories in 11 financially strapped communities in Ontario, by building up a 100-man work force, taking people off unemployment and making them taxpayers, and putting commemorative brass or nickel plates on the doors or walls of these factories saying, 'In memory of the early Loyalists,' etc."
This lady has more ideas than this government.
"Question: Is the present government going to borrow this $11 million from the Bank of Canada to have this party? If this is true, then the residents of Ontario have a right to know about this future debt. Lord, even a minted coin would be sufficient and much easier to swallow." It is signed, "An ordinary homemaker" and she has underlined "Eleven million dollars!" This is not in my riding, but I certainly endorse and understand the reasons for her frustration and the reason she would write that letter in the first place.
I want to address a variety of issues, and I will start with the issues I have direct responsibility for as the Labour critic for the Liberal Party and as women's critic for the party. I will not address all the issues, but I will touch on three. The first is the promise in the speech from the throne -- and it was perhaps the only substantive thing that came from the throne speech -- that we are going to get a senior minister responsible for women's issues with a complete mandate to review, initiate, direct and promote policies favourable to and in support of women in Ontario society.
Since the throne speech, we have had no indication that such a minister is about to be named, but I will wait in breathless anticipation to see which of the progressive Tories over there will be handed this task of burying and obfuscating issues that are of so much concern to so many.
Mr. Laughren: Either Henderson or Gregory.
Mr. Wrye: I will not even speculate on names. It would be unfair to speculate on names. I might suggest some minister who would be in some way progressive and that would immediately rule out that minister.
When that minister is named and when that legislation is in place, let me suggest that the new women's minister could start by having a little look at the annual report of the women crown employees office. It points out that in 1982-83 the wage gap for women crown employees was reduced by 1.6 per cent. The minister has taken considerable pride in pointing out that the gap has now been narrowed to the extent that women get 73.6 per cent of men's wages within the Ontario civil service.
What is a more important number, and I will explain why in a minute, is the number of female executives within the Ontario civil service, which has increased by a much smaller proportion, from 6.3 per cent to 6.9 per cent. The total number of women who fill senior executive positions in the Ontario civil service numbers a grand total of 40.
I suspect the reason we have had something of a narrowing of the gap is not so much because of the affirmative action policies of this government, and of each ministry within this government, but because the collective agreements the Ontario Public Service Employees Union was able to negotiate, and which were implemented during the year just past, allowed for some narrowing of the gap. The collective agreements that were negotiated presented fairly substantial wage increases.
I suspect we will find in this coming year there will be a significant slowing of the narrowing process. I suggest that because there is no indication from any of the figures I have seen in the report that the narrowing of the gap had anything to do with women moving up within the civil service structure, which is the goal the government ought to have established some time ago.
If I were to suggest just a couple of matters for the senior minister who is ultimately appointed to handle women's issues within this government, the first matter that must be addressed is equal pay legislation. That has been promised for some time and yet no legislation has come forward. Quite significantly, there was no mention of it in the speech from the throne other than as one area this minister might look at.
A second area that ought to be of great concern to the minister, whoever he or she may be -- and I will just use this second one briefly -- is the government's dismal record in its voluntary affirmative action program. I remember speaking at length on this last fall during the estimates and addressing a number of questions to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), and I urged the new minister to look at the updated figures.
The figures that were presented to us indicated that in the 850 largest companies in Ontario, after six or seven years this grand affirmative action program that the government has put together has managed to attract some affirmative action initiative from some 225 firms. Indeed, the worst offenders -- and it really quite appalled me -- are the so-called public firms which are receiving a great deal of their money from the taxpayers, and I would include among them municipalities, school boards and the like. I thought it was a particularly dismal record and it is a concern that the new minister of women's issues must address right at the outset.
I want to return to the throne speech of a year ago and see if I can refresh the memory of the House by reading a brief excerpt from it. This is the throne speech of March 9, 1982.
"Ontario will continue to seek fairness and balance in management-labour relations throughout the province. As a result, in consultation with the ministries of Labour and Industry and Trade Development, measures to provide protection for employees under the Employment Standards Act will be advanced in such areas as unjust dismissal and protection of severance pay."
I think those who were expecting this legislation should get that aspect of the speech framed. Significantly, this year that promise was not even mentioned, yet all of us know that in these very difficult economic times there has been an increased need, not a decreased need, for tough new legislation to protect employees throughout the province, particularly those who are not given the protection of the trade union movement, from unjust dismissal.
Too often constituents who are not covered by collective bargaining agreements have come to my office with very sad cases of unjust dismissal, and the amount of money that can be garnered from the employer in these cases is, as members of the assembly know, minimal.
I want to offer the House some specific numbers to show the inadequacy of the present severance pay legislation. I should point out that I have introduced a private member's bill that addresses one small aspect of it; I hope to introduce other bills as the session progresses. I introduced the legislation, as most honourable members do, not so much to pretend that we on this side are playing government as to signal to the minister that there is a problem and a very grave concern that needs to be rectified.
Figures we received from Harry Shardlow, who is in the plant closure and adjustment section of the Ministry of Labour, indicate that between January 1, 1981 -- and the legislation we passed in 1981 was retroactive -- and September 30, 1982, in regular cases, which I would describe as being nonbankruptcy, nonreceivership cases, the number of employees who were terminated according to the current severance pay legislation was 4,540. Of that number, under the government's current legislation only 1,865 were eligible for severance pay, and those cases came to a grand total of 35.
I will point out -- and I want to be fair -- that the number of employees who actually received benefits was 3,196, so clearly some employers chose in spite of the legislation to be more generous. It is very interesting that the business community would recognize in some way the inadequacy of the legislation but that this government will not.
Even more bothersome was the number of employees terminated in bankruptcy and receivership cases. There were a total of 20 of those which fell under the purview of this legislation. The number of employees who were terminated in these instances totalled just over 3,000 -- 3,012, to be exact.
The number eligible for benefits under the government's program was only 1,700, again just barely over half. The number of employees who actually received benefits, and this is truly disturbing, was zero. Not one employee. It seems to me it is high time this minister and this government sat down and re-examined the severance pay legislation and brought in the appropriate changes. Clearly the legislation that the former Minister of Labour said would establish a floor of protection for all employees across this province has certainly not done that.
I want to turn to some health issues, if I might, for a minute. I want to do so in the knowledge that the budget will be coming down about this time one week from today. The first issue I want to touch on is the issue of user fees.
There has been some talk emanating from this government, talk which is accompanied by the usual fed-bashing, that perhaps we will have to bring in user fees for those who are unfortunate enough to go into the hospitals of this province, and the reason we will have to do so is that Ottawa is strangling the health care system.
I always find it rather humorous that this government, which has strangled the health care system itself, which strangled the post-secondary education system, now accuses Ottawa, which simply wishes to get things back into balance, of strangulation. I mean, after all, 55 cents out of every dollar is really quite adequate.
I wanted to read a brief comment from Mr. Gordon Cunningham, the executive director of the Ontario Hospital Association, because I though it was very enlightening. He says, in a very recent For Your Information, dated April 20: "At our liaison meeting with the Minister of Health yesterday our president pointed out that to be cost effective user fees would need to be very substantial. Obviously this would have the potential of generating social and political backlash" -- you had better believe that -- "i.e. taxing the sick, the disabled, poor and the aged population. However, unless hospitals could charge a substantial amount, we do not see any justification for collecting user fees.
"On the other hand, modest user fees would produce relatively little revenue and have little or no impact on decreasing utilization. Except for emergency visits, patients do not decide whether or not they will be admitted to hospital. Further, imposition of modest user fees could raise collection and administrative costs. Hospitals do not need additional costs thrust on them at this time."
I would hope that the words of Mr. Cunningham would have reached the ears of the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) and that he will have managed to talk his friend the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) out of any suggestion that we will follow the very ill-timed and ill-advised lead of Alberta, which also has a Conservative government, in bringing user fees into our hospital system. They are simply unfair. They are regressive and they speak to everything that would be mean in terms of our system of health care. It would be another gigantic step back in a system which has seen too many steps back in the last few years.
Mr. Cunningham: It is also a dumb idea.
Mr. Wrye: As my friend from Wentworth North suggests, it is also a dumb idea, but then again that is what bothers me about this government. Dumb ideas appear to be ideas which they have entertained in the years I have been here.
I also want to make a couple of comments on Ontario health insurance plan premiums. I want my friends to my left to understand the position of our party, since they so conveniently fail to understand the position of the party on this matter.
My leader pointed out very clearly -- because once again, unlike our friends to my left, we do not try to play government; I know they do -- there would certainly be some question in our minds, given the present restraint legislation, as to whether the government of Ontario would have any right to increase OHIP premiums by more than five per cent.
Those remarks and questions were asked after the Treasurer, once again verbally wandering through the course of his budget deliberations, suggested there might be OHIP premium increases far in excess of that amount. But it would be my view, and it is a view of our party, there should be no increase whatsoever in OHIP premiums in this budget. It is very clearly on the record that the view of our party is that we would gradually phase out premiums in this province, premiums which are now by far the highest in Canada, and would move those over to the more progressive taxation system.
On a number of occasions I have dealt with people in my riding who have needed assistance with premiums and I find the level of premiums which they are asked to pay on a very modest income, somewhere in the low teens in thousands, is really quite disgraceful.
I would hope the Treasurer would begin to understand it is absolutely unfair and, again, totally regressive to increase OHIP premiums. I for one would hope that we would not hear the Treasurer stand in his place and increase OHIP premiums because he needs to pay for the doctors' fee increase. He knows full well what he could have done with the medical profession. He could have done with them what he did with every other public servant in Ontario. It is a profession that is getting support from public tax dollars. One can call them independent businessmen, one can call them anything one wants, but the fact is, with the vast majority, their income is from the public sector and from the public purse. As such, they should have fallen under the restraint program.
There is absolutely no reason that they should have been exempted from the rollback considering that this government chose to roll back a number of other increases.
I understand that. I supported that very, very reluctantly. I understand that ultimately in my vote I obviously have a very honest difference of opinion with my friends to my left. But it seems to me that this government has -- and I would suggest to some extent my friends on the left are being consistent as are we. The only inconsistent group is this present government.
While dealing with health issues, I would be remiss if I did not raise again an issue that has bothered me ever since I first ran for elected office. I promise this government I will raise it until they are out and we are in and then we will act on it. It is the need for a chronic care hospital in the city of Windsor.
I just want to read from a report in the Windsor Star, Wednesday, April 27, 1983; less than one week ago.
'"It is now or never for a new chronic care hospital in Windsor,' frustrated officials of Windsor Western Hospital said Tuesday.
"In an emotional appeal at Tuesday's hospital board meeting, board chairman J. E. Fettes said the Essex County District Health Council" -- that appendage of the ministry -- "has failed to understand the need to replace Riverview Hospital and he has little hope for support from the other four area hospitals.
"'Every major community in this province has got a chronic care hospital either under way or already built. We don't.'"
And further on, "'It seems that chronic care is relegated to second class or third class citizenship.'" That remark is from the executive director of Windsor Western, James Broderick.
The chronic care facility in Windsor we have talked about, the 296-bed facility, has been on the drawing board and has been approved in principle for 12 years. Yet this government cannot find the funding necessary to give us that very long overdue and important facility.
It has gone on so long, the price tag has gone up to between $25 million and $35 million. A lot of money, it is said. That is correct. It is a lot of money. Let me give two indications why it would be money well spent.
The old Riverview facility has no business being a hospital at all. It is a disgrace. It is one of the most disgraceful facilities this ministry has any jurisdiction over. That hospital will need $1 million in the next year just to upgrade fire and safety standards. Is that not wonderful in 1983?
If Riverview is to be used much longer, it will need at least another $7 million in renovations. That is almost one third of the cost of building a new building. Why do we not get on with the job of getting a new chronic care facility?
The other reason we should get on with the job is Riverview has only 150 beds. We are talking about a new facility which would have some 300 beds. By doing that, we could get rid of the great burden that has been placed on all the hospitals in Windsor of having improperly placed patients, chronic care patients in active treatment beds. That is a problem which the minister himself acknowledged in a letter to me. He acknowledged it has resulted on a number of occasions in patients lying for up to 72 hours in hallways or emergency wards, a situation that is surely intolerable.
As this board chairman said, and he is absolutely correct: "I do not accept there is a higher priority item in the province of Ontario than a new chronic care hospital for Windsor. I just do not accept that."
He rejects the idea the province has no money for new projects, pointing out that three major hospital projects in Toronto went to tender in the last few days. I say to this government it is about time we got on with the job of giving Windsor the chronic care hospital this government promised 12 long years ago.
I want to speak briefly about the cancellation of the Ontario home renewal program. I learned about it not through any announcement by this government because, boy, when it cancels programs, it does not tell anybody about it. I learned almost by accident, through the municipality in which I reside and which I represent, that a program the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) concurs in a letter to me has been a very effective program, was cancelled last year and $10.5 million of funding was taken out of the program.
In my letter to the minister, I pointed out this program is important for those in my community and all across this province, a goodly number in my community alone. There is a total of 300 applications now on file from those who need their houses brought up to minimum standards. We are not talking about Casa Lomas here. We are talking about houses that lack even the minimum standards designed by our community. It is important those houses be brought up to a minimum standard.
As well, we could put hundreds and thousands of people back to work if we were to restore this program. Yet this government blamed the cancellation of the program on the restraint program. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in his letter to me, had the gall to say:
"I understand Windsor now receives $10,000 to $12,000 per month in OHRP repayments. As you see, OHRP can continue."
It certainly can, for one and a half applications a month. We have 300 on file. There are 175 of an emergency nature and the minister says that $10,000 a month will suffice. Maybe he ought to give up a few of his advertising bucks and start putting the money where we can create jobs.
I just want to read the end of an editorial which the editor of the Windsor Star wrote on this matter.
"The government cites restraint as the justification for axing the program, but already it looks like a false economy.
"If substandard housing cannot be brought up to the minimum standards because the owners cannot afford it, and the construction industry is deprived of a healthy chunk of its business, it is inevitable that sooner or later there will be greater demands on provincially-funded social services."
The only people this government, the great friend of business, of the small independent businessman, cares about are its advertising buddies who get more from this government.
I want to deal very briefly with two final items. The first is a problem which has been brought to my attention in my community, but it is a problem all members ought to be aware of and sensitive to. That is the fact this very generous government is not generous enough in terms of the welfare and social assistance areas. I am speaking specifically about the special assistance program now in place in so many municipalities.
I will read from a background report about my own municipality:
"Special assistance covers such items as special diets, cost of care and maintenance in a nursing home, prescribed drugs, surgical supplies and dressings, dental services, prosthetic appliances, vocational training, travel and transportation, moving and funeral and burial."
The list goes on.
In my own community, the social services department has been very understanding and very sensitive to many of the needs of my constituents--needs to literally put food on the table. The only problem with this is that this government, which has so much money for so many other things, has no money for special assistance.
Fifty per cent of the money is sent to the municipality under subsection 15(5) of the regulation under the General Welfare Assistance Act. The funding for special assistance is such that municipalities are reimbursed 50 per cent of the amounts paid to or on behalf of a person in need of special assistance by Ontario.
Conveniently, that is the amount Ottawa gives to Ontario in the first place. How many dollars come out of Ontario's pocket? Not one dollar comes from this province. How can that be important? In the last three years, payment by the city of Windsor for special assistance items has totalled $1,903,000. Because of the great recession we have had in my community, and I am sure it is the same in so many others, that has increased annually, until last year the total amount paid was $877,000. Of that, the actual cost to the city has been $951,000.
Just to put it in dollar terms, in terms of the estimate of what it will cost for special assistance this year, if the province were to pick up its 30 per cent share and leave the municipality with its 20 per cent share, with the general revenues and the much wider scope the province has in collecting taxation, they could save the city of Windsor -- which is already strapped and very desperate for money -- $260,000 this year alone.
I urge the government to do this. This special assistance is a program which is so very important in these difficult economic times.
I want to give members one small, personal example about the head of a family in my riding who, because of the very poor economy, has not been able to find employment. The family is on welfare. They have had an enormous amount of tragedy in the family, including deaths of their parents on both sides.
They have a young lad who is nine years old and he suffers from a rare chronic lung disease, the name of which I cannot even pronounce. He gets protein fluid in his lungs which then must be drained. That operation can only occur in Toronto at the Hospital for Sick Children. On a regular basis and, indeed, the most recent occasion was just last week, that little boy must come to Toronto. His mother or his father come with him, because it is a very critically dangerous operation at any time.
Because of the family's financial situation, every time he comes down the people at social services in my community, through special assistance, pay the cost of transportation to and from Toronto. They have also paid for the modest cost of boarding that family while they are in Toronto, at Ronald McDonald House, I believe. That is just one example of why that program cannot be cut back. There is simply no money elsewhere for that young lad. I hope the government will take a very serious look at fulfilling its responsibilities in the field of special assistance.
I will close by returning to a subject I raised last year. I see my friend the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) is here. On many occasions last year he raised the problem of those who have families with or who have Alzheimer's disease. To refresh the memory of the House, I will put it on the record that we have in this country an estimated 200,000 Canadians over 65 who suffer from the disease, including 73,000 in this province and 3,000 in my own community. It causes some 10,000 fatalities a year, and is believed to be the fourth most common cause of death.
The disease was initially diagnosed 75 years ago. For those who do not know, it attacks the brain cells, impairing memory, judgement and intellect. Related to these effects are anxiety and depression.
I note that the Alzheimer Society -- and I believe there is now a full Ontario chapter -- will be here at Queen's Park later this month, I believe on May 17, two weeks from today, to meet with us. I urge all members from all parties to get together with them. I also at this time want to urge the government to take some action. The ministers well know that the society, particularly our local chapter, has been urging action for some time.
I will read a brief letter the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) wrote to Mrs. Marilyn Brown, who is co-chairperson of the local Windsor and Essex county Alzheimer chapter. It is dated June 29, 1982. In that letter the Minister of Health says:
"Ministry of Health staff have attended meetings of the Alzheimer Society where concerns such as those of your membership were raised. When the Mental Health Act is open for amendment, this issue will be among the first to be considered for change."
I will leave it at this. I hope that act will be open soon for amendment. The disease is a great tragedy that is visited upon too many people throughout this province, and it is a tragedy that is compounded by a real problem that the government is well aware of. It seems to me it would be appropriate for this government to move and perhaps bring to the attention of these people when they come to Toronto on May 17 the happy news that there will be appropriate amendments to the Mental Health Act.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak in this throne speech debate. I regret that the throne speech contained so little. One can only hope that the budget one week hence will contain a little more.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): I thank the honourable member, and recognize the member for Lincoln.
Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the co-operation of the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) in deferring to me and allowing me to find my way to another event later on this afternoon. I am proud, as a member of this government, to speak in support of the speech from the throne.
I was particularly pleased to see the appointment of a senior minister to be responsible for women's issues proposed in His Honour's address. I was glad to hear the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) make his comments with respect to that issue, and I hope I can perhaps expand on some of his earlier remarks.
It is a necessary and important step. It proves something very fundamental about the attitude of this government. The number and proportion of women in the Ontario labour force has increased dramatically over the past decade. In 1960, women made up only 28 per cent of the total work force, and by 1982 this figure had increased to 42.6 per cent. The fact that women now make up such a large part of the entire labour force represents a profound social change, which calls for a change in traditional thinking about the role of women, jobs and careers.
Although the participation rate of women has increased significantly, many misconceptions persist. Misconceptions about the role of women in the labour force can be either directly or indirectly connected to the assumption that women are secondary workers. It is suggested that the contribution made by working women to the economy and to their families is less important than that of working men. A further misconception is that working women are not truly dependent on such income and therefore do not suffer unduly if unemployed.
I ask the honourable members to consider the following facts. Over 40 per cent of married women in the Canadian labour force in 1978 had husbands who earned less than $15,000 a year. Obviously, these working women are making an important and essential contribution to their family income. It is estimated that the number of poor families in Canada would almost double if women in two-partner families left the labour force.
In 1980 almost 40 per cent of working women in Ontario were either single, widowed or divorced, and these women are working to support themselves and, in many cases, dependants as well. So without question, women are making an important contribution to our society and a very tangible contribution to family income.
An example that comes immediately to mind, a situation that is very close to me and to my constituency, is a group known as the Niagara Grape Growers' Action Committee. This group was established in 1976 by the wives of grape growers in the Niagara area. The action committee was formed during a period of surplus grape production to promote the sale of Ontario-grown grapes and grape products. This group of 300 women has been most successful in promoting the consumption of Ontario grapes, wines and grape juice in the home, in schools, at community functions, at grape and wine festivals and at conventions both in Canada and in the United States.
By the way, the action committee also paved the way for Ontario wine to be introduced as one of the house wines at the parliamentary restaurant in -- where else? -- Ottawa. That, I would suggest, is in direct contrast to the rather enlightened and progressive spirit of our own Queen's Park facilities, and I would suggest that perhaps at this time it is appropriate to remind all honourable members of the opportunity this evening to sample those products at a very pleasant and social event that we will be participating in later on.
There are many serious and immediate issues that will have to be addressed by the new minister responsible for women. Inequities exist in the occupational and salary status of women. In 1979 women working full time earned on the average 63.3 per cent of what men working full time earn.
Mr. McClellan: What are you preaching for, Phil?
Mr. Andrewes: I had never thought of it that way, but it is not a bad idea.
Child-bearing and child-rearing responsibilities have been one of the major factors inhibiting the participation and advancement of women in the labour force. The new minister will need to re-evaluate the availability of accessible and affordable quality child care.
More than two thirds of all female workers in Canada are concentrated in just four occupational categories: clerical, service, medicine and health, and teaching. Emphasis will have to be placed on greater opportunity for women to enter nontraditional and higher-paying job sectors. In addition, an issue of increasing importance that will have to be addressed, not only by our government but also by industry and labour, is the impact of new technology on our labour force, particularly its effect on women.
I am pleased, therefore, that our government has taken the initiative to undertake an extensive and serious study of the impact of new technologies, so that we can respond in a positive and effective manner to technological change. It is fair to say that Canada, and more specifically Ontario, finds itself lagging behind most western industrial economies in the diffusion of new technologies.
It has been estimated, for example, that Canada is four or more years behind its major competitors in the use of CAD/CAM technology. In robotics, Canada and Ontario trail all major industrial nations in both installation and manufacturing. There are approximately 200 robots in use throughout Canada today, compared to about 5,000 to 10,000 in the United States and over 25,000 in Japan.
The effect of these technology gaps would in itself be serious enough in the technical expertise loss to our nation, but the real consequences of such a situation show up in our declining productivity and ultimately in our ability to compete. Given Canada's declining tariff levels, the consequences of a widening technology gap with our major trading partners become painfully obvious.
Two major short-term limitations impeding the diffusion of technology are ignorance, fear of the technology, and a simple lack of interest in its potential uses. Concerned with overcoming this handicap, Ontario has set up five technology centres to assist key sectors of the economy to become aware of the advantages of new technologies, such as microelectronics, CAD/CAM, and robotics.
I strongly believe that a key requirement in accelerating the use of these new technologies will be an understanding of the effects on the labour force. Ignorance often leads to fear, and there are those who fear technology because they can only think of it in terms of sophisticated machines, thus mistaking the shell for the snail, or the web for the spider.
We must remember that technology is not always machines but it is knowledge, knowledge that is stored in hundreds of millions of books, and in hundreds of millions or billions of human heads. Technology is knowledge of how to do things, of how to accomplish human goals, in order to achieve and improve the quality of life. Technology as stored knowledge enhances our abilities to accomplish individual and collective goals, such as providing the information to combat disease, or to discover new techniques in detecting and controlling pollution.
Our goals will be achieved through the application of more technology, not less. Ignorance of the implications of high technology has also been largely responsible for generating fear of massive unemployment. To understand the problem of unemployment and labour adjustment, we must appreciate that technological change is a two-edged sword. On the one hand it leads to the creation of completely new industries and occupations, and on the other it can lead to the displacement of labour through increases in efficiency in existing processes and in producing and delivering goods and services.
The spectrum of prediction about the possible impact of the new technology upon employment runs from the optimistic view that in the long run the new employment generated by new technologies will balance, or exceed, that which it will displace, to the pessimistic view that by the end of the century the majority of the labour force will be displaced by robots and automation.
The truth is that no one can be absolutely certain about long-term employment trends. However, in the next five to 10 years the effects of technology in reducing industry's demands for labour are unlikely to be any more dramatic than those of many previous examples of technological improvement.
Alvin Toffler describes the great waves or flows of economic forces. The current transition from a goods-producing economy to a service or information-producing economy is equivalent to the 19th-century transition from an agrarian-based economy to an industrial one.
Today more than 50 per cent of the labour force in the western industrial countries are classified as information handlers. The new technology, particularly microelectronics, is geared directly to reducing the labour required to handle information. Studies done in Europe estimate losses of 30 per cent of the work force over the 1980s in sectors such as banking, insurance and the postal service.
Such negative predictions are also borne out by recent studies in Canada. The Public Service Alliance of Canada reports that two jobs are lost for every one created in technology-related administrative positions in the federal government. Heather Menzies in her book Women and the Chip concludes that unemployment among women could reach 35 per cent by 1990 if information technology is allowed to impinge unhampered on the office environment.
Increasingly there is a recognition that women will be affected most by the changes brought about by technology. The areas in which women have come to be employed are going to be the areas most affected in the future, because the office of the future, for example, will be expected to be composed of a wide range of computer-based equipment. Word processing equipment is now capable of retyping, filing, addressing and typesetting as well as providing electronic mail, messaging and agenda planning with on-line communication links.
The new office equipment will require a quantum leap in the talents and the skills required; and instead of people to process information and follow procedures, the new office will need to invent new ways of processing and applying processed information and to create new procedures for computers to follow.
Some analysts have argued that the effect microelectronics will have on women is paradoxical. First-generation office machines such as the typewriter and the telephone switchboard gave women the opportunity to enter the working world, and now computers have made these machines obsolete and have closed off traditional jobs. Hardship will be inevitable for many now employed in office jobs. But in the longer term, microelectronics will diminish the physical advantage of male muscle, opening up more occupations to females, and in the final analysis there is no agreement about what effects new technology will have on jobs.
So the various sides in the debate have been promoting their own interests and have made little effort to dispassionately analyse what will happen to jobs as a result of the introduction of new technology. There is not enough evidence to show a great displacement of labour in the information sector, and most figures are extrapolated or manipulated to confirm a particular set of hypotheses.
On the other side of the labour issue is the shortage of skilled labour. The Ontario Manpower Commission estimates that for the next five years we could suffer a shortage of engineers, computer operators, programmers, technicians and technologists. Education and training are the most universally accepted solutions for women and men whose traditional jobs become obsolete. Women will be encouraged to take courses in mathematics, science and technical skills.
Last year only 8.2 per cent of Canada's 34,155 undergraduate engineering students were women, and in the small but faster-growing sector of computer engineering only three of the 85 students of the 1985 graduating class are women.
Our government has taken the first step in responding to the challenge of technological change by undertaking to understand the effects such technology will have on our people. The study will seriously address the impact of technology on quantity and quality of employment; sectoral consideration, that is, which sectors of the economy are likely to be most affected; and, most important, retraining, the retraining of women currently in the work place and the training of those who wish to enter.
In undertaking to study the implications of technology, our government does not dismiss the fact that the loss of employment can be devastating to individuals and society, because work is the main means by which we relate to each other and acquire a sense of dignity and purpose, regardless of how hard or boring the work is.
Finally, it is the attitude that women have towards themselves and their role in the work place that will effectively determine the success of these programs since for many years these attitudes have been dominated by a male influence. Women should not attain positions merely because they are women and there is a quota to fill, but because they are best qualified for the job. In understanding the challenges that are facing us, we can effectively plan for the future.
In closing, I urge all honourable members to support the policies and programs outlined in the speech from the throne. They reflect our government's genuine concern and commitment to the wellbeing of our people.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I want to be kind of parochial, and some might even say insular, in my comments in the throne speech debate. I want to remind all honourable members that the only reference to the north in the throne speech, however vague, however oblique, was some brief mention of the government's concern for one-industry towns in northern Ontario.
We have heard that song before. We know there are a good many one-industry towns based on a primary resource in the north that have had the boom-or-bust mentality for many years, given the nature of an economy so inextricably tied to one of the three primary resource sectors, namely, forestry, mining or tourism.
I am glad there are three northern members on the other side of the House, namely, the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Havrot), the member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane) and the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché). I would like their attention over the next little while in coming to grips with a problem that has emerged since a letter was sent by the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) on December 14, 1982, dealing specifically with what could be mildly referred to as a slap on the wrist from the old crow, the Minister of Northern Affairs, to the relatively young and inexperienced Minister of Natural Resources. The Globe and Mail characterized that impasse, that hiatus, that difference of opinion, that parting of the ways, as a Tory tussle for a northern fief.
It seems to me, as a member who has represented the north for almost 16 years, that for most of those years the Ministry of Natural Resources and its predecessor, the old Department of Lands and Forests, have had an ongoing road show or circus dealing with strategic land use planning. They have had that exercise going in various forms for most of the past 15 years.
They have had advisory committees to district foresters, regional directors, regional staff and the minister himself. In a more intensive way over the last five to six years, they have embarked upon this strategic land use plan in general terms for the entire province. They have refined that to where we now have district land use plans covering all the activities on crown land and water wherever they exist throughout Ontario.
The Minister of Natural Resources has fine-tuned this. He has even got involved himself by having his little road show across the province where he lays claim to having talked to well over 3,000 people, getting their input and consulting with them as to the nature of strategic land use planning throughout Ontario.
In tandem with the land use planning process and exercise throughout the province, we have had a special task force dealing with planning for future parks across Ontario. Most members will know that we have about 134 provincial parks in a variety of sizes, kinds and uses. In the candidate options that now are being studied by the Ministry of Natural Resources, if all those candidate options were exercised, it would increase the number of parks in the province from 134 to something in the neighbourhood of 240.
We have lobbyists, environmentalists and wilderness people on one side of the issue and timber interests, mining interests and tourist interests on the other side of the issue. In the middle, I think it is safe to say, we have the Ministry of Natural Resources. Now the Minister of Northern Affairs is jumping into the fray, saying we must have a multiple-use concept in Ontario if we are going to maximize the benefit of the wise use of our land and water resources in the province.
What does the Minister of Northern Affairs have to say about this process that his colleague the Minister of Natural Resources has been involved in ever since he has become the minister? As a matter of fact, the present Minister of Northern Affairs, in a previous incarnation as the Minister of Natural Resources, was involved in the same process. He, along with the former member for Leeds and the former member for Cochrane North, who were also either Minister of Natural Resources or Minister of Lands and Forests, in a very personal and a very direct way was involved in the very process that is now the responsibility of his colleague the Minister of Natural Resources, now the member for Cochrane South.
I want to quote from a letter that was sent from the Minister of Northern Affairs to the Minister of Natural Resources: "Plans or Guidelines: During the current discussions about land use plans, the question has come up as to what exactly they are intended to be. They have been described as catalogues of resources, guidelines, blueprints for decision-making and as plans in the sense of official plans setting out very precise rules and prescriptions of what can and cannot be done.
"The word 'plan' today carries with it the connotation of something that is etched in stone and very difficult, if not impossible, to change. Unfortunate, but true. This frankly is the case with most officials in most ministries I know. Presented with a plan to administer, the provisions become iron-clad rules that have to be applied according to the letter of the law. Occasionally they become reasons for not doing things. Proposals that are at variance are looked at suspiciously at best.
"In the coming years in the north the major emphasis must be on the creative and inventive use of our resources for the benefit of northerners rather than on the custodial nonuse side of the ledger. To do this, we in government are going to need the ability to respond flexibly to rapidly changing circumstances and to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities.
"A rigid plan will not permit this. I strongly recommend, therefore, that whatever documents come forward be called guidelines and that the administrative system within MNR be geared to dealing with them as such. This shift" -- and I emphasize this, Mr. Speaker -- "would provide greater flexibility for the government, would project publicly a sense of flexibility, would create a much better public image in the north and would frankly be much more consistent with what I understand the intent of the plan is supposed to be."
The Minister of Northern Affairs obviously is trying to intercede with his colleague the Minister of Natural Resources to say, "You must shift your whole emphasis of structured, rigid plans for a design for development and for strategic land use planning across the province to something that can loosely be referred to as guidelines so that we keep our options open with most of these things and it is a lot easier to justify than something that is etched in stone by way of a strategic land use plan or a district land use plan in Ontario."
The Minister of Northern Affairs talks about the multiple use concept; that is where everybody has a kick at the cat, perhaps in sequence at different times, at different stages of the growth of the ecosystems.
I think the minister would have us believe that if we have a forest that is there for the cutting we let the timber companies go in there, clear-cut and do what they have been doing for the last 50 or 60 years. Then, when they are finished, we have a sort of a sequential use where we will give it to birdwatchers or photographers or backpackers, hikers, canoeists or whoever wants to use it after we have taken the primary product, that is, the timber resources.
In terms of the multiple-use concept, if I had the time I could go into very great detail about what is wrong with the present government's concept of multiple use. In theory, if it was done in such a way that if a timber company went into a given area, regardless of what standing timber was on it, if it was harvested in such a way that we would minimize the effect of that mechanical harvesting, it would in theory be possible to have a multiple-use concept. But in actual practice -- I wish we could have a tour of northern members within the next couple of weeks or so, so I could take them up to areas that have just recently been cut and are in the process of being cut, to see what the forest industries concept of multiple use really is.
I could take them to Lake Savant, just north of the north line of the Canadian National Railways, where Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd. has its operations, and show them areas where, notwithstanding the fact that we have under the Crown Timber Act, under the manual of management, guidelines not only for personnel within the Ministry of Natural Resources but guidelines which are supposed to be incorporated into multi-year management plans for a given area, as well as actual year-to-year operation plans, that is not being done.
There will not be clear-cutting. At the time they plan to harvest an area they will set in motion a plan on not only how it is going to be harvested but how that particular stand is going to be managed, whether it will be cut selectively or whether it will be block-cut or strip-cut, whatever way professional foresters in their wisdom decide, even before harvesting, is the best way of planning for the natural regeneration of that forest. If it is not possible for that particular forest, that particular stand, that particular species, to regenerate itself naturally, one sets in a motion a plan as to how one does that with human and financial resources to regenerate it by artificial means such as planting, seeding, that kind of thing.
That is not being done, notwithstanding the fact we have signed eight or nine forest management agreements with major licence holders across the north. Now the dialogue seems to be turning around and they are starting to talk about the recommendations that were contained in the Armson report in 1976. That is the basis for a turnaround of the years, the decades, of neglect of what should be considered a renewable and infinite resource of Ontario, as opposed to the neglect, the indifference, the way in which we have mined rather than managed our forests and treated them as an agricultural crop.
You will know this, Mr. Speaker, with your background in the area of the province you represent. If a farmer treated his farm in the way we treat an area of land that is dedicated to the growing of trees in Ontario, in the way we treat this most important resource -- a renewable, infinite resource, if it were done properly -- he would be out of business in five years. If he continued to take something out with no thought of ever putting anything back, if he harvested every fall and went away and neglected the farm, he would not have a farm for very long. But that is what we have been doing.
We could go back into history, dating back to when C. D. Howe used to be quite active in the forestry school of the University of Toronto in the mid-1920s, and see what he said about the need to treat the forest industry as a renewable resource. Members should read the recently released book by Dean Sisam of the forestry faculty of the University of Toronto. They should go back and read what Colonel Kennedy said in 1948, what a chap by the name of Brodie said in 1968, what the Ontario Economic Council said in 1969, what Hedlin-Menzies said in 1970 and what Armson said in 1976.
I would like every member of this Legislature to go with me to areas like Savant Lake and a good many others where I can show them they have clear-cut right down to the water's edge on lakes where literally hundreds of people rely on the wilderness, the fish and game resources, and all the things that tourists travelling to the north expect to see when they get there; I could show how this so-called multiple-use concept works with regard to the way we manage our forestry resources.
A lot of people in this assembly are not aware of how important forestry is, not only to northern Ontario or Ontario as a whole but to the whole of Canada. I am sure a good many members, if they have been following the dialogue, will hear pronouncements made by the Honourable John Roberts, who is the Minister of the Environment and responsible for co-ordinating any activity of the federal government in forestry.
We talk about agriculture here on a daily basis. If one added up the economic impact in terms of export dollars, the balance of payments, of agriculture as well as mining and all of those activities where we earn foreign dollars and doubled them, one still would not match the economic impact our forest industries have on the Canadian and our provincial economy. Most people do not understand that.
If one talked to farmers, whether they are in mixed farming in southern Ontario, in beef farming, or in grain farming on the Prairies and put all of those forms of farming into the statistics, they would not come close to matching the economic impact that the harvesting of our forests can have and will continue to have on every living Canadian and on every Canadian yet unborn, if we were to play our cards right; but I see no evidence of that.
I see this dialogue between the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Northern Affairs. Those two people at least should be responsible for the sane and wise use, not only of our lands and waters -- strategic land use planning and district land use planning -- but of something that is so key, so pivotal to the future wellbeing of northern Ontario, Ontario as a whole and Canada as a nation. We have frittered away over the last 50 years an opportunity to be world leaders in forest management.
Let me get to some more particular aspects of forest management. Most members will recall we had an honest, sincere, dedicated and professional forester who, because he was interested in the kinds of things I have been trying to say over the last 15 or 20 minutes, was fired for his trouble.
What has happened in the interim? We had the Crown Employees Grievance Settlement Board that is responsible for looking into such matters. It recommended this honest, sincere, dedicated, youthful and professional forester should be penalized one week's wages for having acted in a different way. They said there was nothing wrong with what he did, but they found some minor fault with the way he did it.
That young professional forester is now back on the payroll of the Ministry of Natural Resources and has been, except for that one-week period around April 1. He is being paid $2,100 a month and they will not even let him inside the office. He is being paid $2,100 a month to stay at home and not bother his district manager, his regional director or the Ministry of Natural Resources at all. They told him to stay away.
I know Mr. MacAlpine and how dedicated he is. He goes out on a regular basis in the unit he was responsible for and carries out on his own initiative silviculture treatment of the area that presumably he is being paid to manage, although he is not allowed to do it; but he goes out and he does it.
Since distance is a consideration, he asked his district manager, who will not let him inside the office, if they would consider paying him his time to commute back and forth in his own truck to the place where he has chosen to work to put something back for the $2,100 he is getting. They will not even do that. He has written to the Minister of Natural Resources explaining his plight, his own particular circumstances, saying: "I am still a professional forester. I am still committed to managing the forests." The ministry will not allow him to do it.
Mr. Bradley: Is this Mr. MacAlpine?
Mr. Stokes: Yes. Why did he get fired? It was because he could not get the interest and the attention of his district manager. He could not get the interest of the regional director. He could not get the attention of the assistant deputy minister in Thunder Bay. He could not get the interest of the deputy minister in the Whitney Block or the minister himself. He made the mistake of telling me what was wrong. He said, "Give me time and give me the necessary resources to do an operational cruise on the area you want me to make recommendations about in terms of the inventory of timber, the age classes, the species and how we can allocate those timber values to maximize the benefit not only for local users but ultimately for the economy in Ontario."
He knew he was working with data, a forest resource inventory that was 20 years out of date. He said, "Let me do an up-to-date operational cruise, and whatever comes out of it I will make those recommendations and you can make the ultimate decision as to how you want to dispose of those timber values." I said: "Never mind that. Just give me a recommendation that there is sufficient timber to satisfy the traditional users."
We have 30 or 40 traditional users between Nipigon and Thunder Bay and we want to satisfy the needs of Buchanan Forest Products Ltd., which had just acquired a sawmill in Thunder Bay to add to the one it has at Hudson under the name of McKenzie Forest Products Inc., and the one Mr. Buchanan owns in Sapawe that he acquired two or three years ago from Domtar.
This is what he was attempting to do. They would not let him do it and they fired him for his trouble. Since then they realized they had to have that information, that data, before they could realistically allocate any of those timber values to traditional users or any additional users whom they had hoped to satisfy.
They put a tender out for the notice of professional foresters saying, "We require the services of professional foresters to do" -- guess what? -- "an operational cruise", on the area that was the responsibility of our friend Donald MacAlpine. He and another forester bid on it, because at that time he was without work. He was the lowest bidder and the most competent, but what did they do? They cancelled the contract.
That is not the end of it. They still had to have somebody do that. What did they do? They got a bunch of technicians, some forestry students from Lakehead University, and they said: "Go down there and do that inventory. Give us some data that we can reach some conclusions on."
About a month ago the Ministry of Natural Resources unveiled a 10-year operating plan for the Port Arthur crown management unit. Essentially they said, and I am quoting from memory, there were about one million cubic metres of wood on that crown management unit available for harvesting over the next 10 years. I attended the open house and I said: "Break this down for me. Tell me how many of those cubic metres of wood are on the Black Bay Peninsula." They said, "Just a minute now."
The forestry supervisor and a student put their heads together, got out their little pocket calculator and said, "Roughly about 195,000 cubic metres of wood are available on the Black Bay Peninsula over the next 10 years." I said, "That is about just under 20,000 cubic metres of wood a year to be divided between the traditional users and these others like MacMillan Bloedel and Buchanan Forest Products." They said, "Yes, that's it." So I said, "Fine, thank you very much," and asked them several other questions.
When the traditional users went to look at the particular stands or plots that were allocated to them under this 10-year operating plan, one of the stands was one that one of the traditional users had planted five years ago. Now we know in the boreal forest how long it takes to grow a tree. If one planted something five years ago and if one got a good catch, it would be about as high as this desk.
Another chap was quite happy. He had been allocated a 55-year-old stand of jack pine. They were about six to eight inches in diameter and there were a good many stems per acre and he could make a good living. He went, unloaded his bulldozer -- there was still snow on the ground -- and started pushing in a winter road to gain access to this area that had been allocated to him. He no sooner got the bulldozer off the flat-bed when they said: "No, no, we made a mistake. You cannot have this. You are going to have to look for another area." He asked, "Where is the other area?" I can see it out my window. In Nipigon, they have a cluster of trailers and right in the background there is a hill. He was told that if he went on top of this hill, that would be the alternative.
He cruised it that weekend. He thought that at best it would be eight or 10 cords to the acre. Of course, anyone who knows anything about harvesting of small-dimensional mixed stands in the north would know one cannot make his living on it, but he went in and had a look at it. Before he got a chance to even tell them that it was not economically feasible, they withdrew that from him.
This is a plan that is three weeks old, so what have we got? We have a reduction on the Black Bay Peninsula of 195,000 cubic metres of wood over the next 10 years, reduced by one quarter to 145,000 in just three weeks. We have one fellow who was asked to harvest an area that he had planted five years ago. We have another chap who was given two areas that have since been withdrawn and the only alternative offered was another one across the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks, and through a swamp in the middle of summer, so he does not have the resources to harvest it.
Now the ministry is saying, "Well, if we can stir up the money from Toronto, we will try to assist you in building a road so you can continue with your traditional livelihood of harvesting timber." What a hell of a way -- if you will pardon the expression -- to manage a resource.
When I started talking -- I guess I have driven them all out -- the member for Cochrane North was here, the member for Timiskaming was here and the member for Algoma-Manitoulin was here. How do they feel about the way in which the Minister of Natural Resources, the member for Cochrane South, is administering the most important primary resource in Ontario?
This gets me to another thing. The members will all recall the furore that was created here just before Christmas over the fishery agreement. The Minister of Natural Resources said he had conferred and consulted with the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association, that he had consulted with the anglers and hunters across Ontario, that he had discussed it with a lot of people who he thought would be concerned about the ramifications of signing a tripartite agreement among the federal government, the provincial government and our native people in Ontario.
I happened to be at the cabinet meeting that was held over in the Whitney Block on that fateful day, when the public got to hear about this fishing agreement. The Minister of Natural Resources claimed he had undertaken realistic consultation with anybody he thought would be concerned, and the Minister of Northern Affairs almost denied any knowledge of the existence of an agreement.
I had never attended a cabinet meeting -- and I do not think you have either, Mr. Speaker -- but it would seem, if the Minister of Natural Resources had been charged with the responsibility of negotiating on behalf of Ontario with our first citizens and with the federal government, it would be with the knowledge and approval and endorsation of cabinet. One would think that would be a reasonable way to approach it.
I happen to know a cabinet committee met last August in Sault Ste. Marie where that very topic was discussed and where the Minister of Natural Resources was given approval in principle to enter into an agreement with the federal government and the native people. When the minister unveiled the plan, everybody denied any knowledge of it. They said the content of the plan may have some merit and be worthy of support, but the process surely left a lot to be desired.
One hears from time to time about two cabinet ministers having a mild difference of opinion. One may hear about the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) having a difference of opinion with the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea), or the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) having a mild difference of opinion with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie), as we did hear in the last few days. We now hear, out of the mouth of the Minister of Northern Affairs, a very basic and fundamental philosophical approach to the way we should manage our resources.
We have a young Minister of Natural Resources, a little green, a little wet behind the ears, but trying to change things, trying to turn things around. Where are his cabinet colleagues when he needs them? One wonders when this government and its ministers are going to take seriously their responsibility to manage all our resources, whether they be finite resources like our mineral wealth, or infinite resources like trees if we play our cards right; and infinite resources also, again if we play our cards right, with regard to tourism, fast becoming the second largest industry in Ontario.
The people in southern Ontario think of tourism from their own perspective. If it is in Ottawa, the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) knows what tourism means to our national capital and to the people who look on that as their livelihood. The member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) can tell us what tourism means in his community and the people who depend on it for their livelihood.
Most members know what tourism in northern Ontario is all about. It costs a little bit more to get there; it takes a little more time; it takes a much greater commitment if you are going to go up there and enjoy what we have to offer by way of tourism in the north.
But, generally speaking, if somebody is going to spend the number of dollars, the amount of time and the amount of energy to get up there to enjoy those resources, fight the mosquitoes and the blackfly and the sometimes inclement weather, it is going to be because he wants to hunt, he wants to fish, he wants to attack some wild river canoe route, he wants to rough it and get away from the rat race down here in southern Ontario. Well, if you want to fish, you have to find a lake with fish in it. If you are going to hunt, you are going to have to find some moose.
We have a program in Ontario called strategic planning for Ontario fisheries that has been in existence for five or six years. Under it there was an undertaking by the Minister of Natural Resources to begin to ensure that if we play our cards right there will be fishing from now until kingdom come to support our tourist industry.
If you go into a good many of those areas, and the member for Niagara Falls will tell members this, remote lakes where he once fished are becoming badly depleted, particularly the prime species. In some areas it is pickerel; in other areas it is lake trout. We have even had to close down fishing in some of those lakes because of the inability of that resource to withstand the pressure on its own -- sometimes from commercial fishing, sometimes from the ordinary angler like the member for Niagara Falls, but sometimes because of excess pressure as a result of tourist operations in the north, where we are attracting people in ever-increasing numbers, a lot of them from beyond our borders.
It does not matter whether you are talking about trees, about fish resources or about wildlife resources: you cannot continue just to take it out as if you have an endless amount of resources. If you want to continue to take it out, you must one day make the decision to start putting something back; and I wonder when the day will come when we will truly manage the resources.
The government can talk about their strategic land use plans, their district land use plans, their park plans -- they can talk about all of those things; but unless there is a commitment to manage and husband the primary resources around which the economy in Ontario rotates, they will reach the day when it is no longer there and they will have to look for something else.
The government know what has happened with the world economic recession, the impact it has had on our big neighbour to the south, the United States, and they know the impact it has had particularly on our manufacturing sector here in southern Ontario. In order to have a manufacturing sector you must be competitive, you must have a marketable product and you must have a natural resource that you can turn into a manufactured end product that is available for sale at competitive prices, not only in our domestic but also in our foreign markets.
It is so basic, unless we want to be like Japan, where we would bring everything in from offshore, whether it be steel, coal, aluminum or petroleum products, all of those things they bring to their shoreline. They manufacture them into something that is saleable at competitive prices and ship it out to world markets.
We know what has happened to our automotive industry in Ontario and in North America generally because of our inability to compete. Part of it is because our expectations are far too high. We have been living high off the hog far too long. We have to get down to reality. If we do not manage the resources I have been talking about over the last 40 or 50 minutes, that is going to be the end of the road for this province of opportunity.
I could go on at great length and talk about the closing of a town such as Nakina because of the announcement by Canadian National Railways that it is no longer going to operate out of Nakina. It is going to run through from Hornepayne over to Armstrong. That is primarily the responsibility of the federal government.
I could talk about Via Rail's cutback in passenger service in the north where we no longer have a daily passenger train on the north line, the transcontinental line of Canadian National Railways. The members will probably doubt this, but I can tell them there are communities such as Ferland, Mud River, Auden, Collins and Allan Water that no longer have daily passenger service. They have a little jitney that goes through in the middle of the night three times a week and they are supposed to use that because there is no road access.
There we are, in this year of our Lord, 1983, in the most affluent province in the richest country on the face of the earth, and we cannot even provide road or rail access for people who actually live in those communities and provide a service. If it were not for people living in those communities, we would not have anyone to maintain the line that joins east and west. They provide a very useful service.
We just ignore them. We say: "Well, if you take sick, you will have to wait two or three days until the next train comes along and you can get out to see a doctor. If you have a toothache, you will wait two or three days to get out to see a dentist." That is the way we treat people in Ontario.
It will be said that is primarily a federal responsibility. The federal government is responsible for railroads and Via Rail, but surely there could be the co-operation that is necessary to provide for everybody in Ontario regardless of where they live.
We had a task force set up a year and a half ago to study the high cost of transportation and the high cost of consumer goods in the far north. That is in places like Fort Severn, Big Trout Lake, Fort Hope, Kasabonika, Wunnummin Lake, Kingfisher Lake and all those communities that are off the beaten path. There are no roads into them. We have a network of air strips, thank God, so they can get in, weather permitting, but the costs are unusually high.
We have a community in my riding where they pay $6.17 for a gallon of gasoline. That is about $1.40 a litre, as opposed to what I pay, 53 cents in my home town, and what I paid for it in Thunder Bay as recently as last Sunday, 21.9 cents a litre.
I have asked for a study. They have said: "No. We will just disregard that." We have had this task force studying the high cost of living and transportation in the north for a year and a half now. I have been told for the last two months it is still at the printers. This is the kind of thing that turns people off.
I could go on at considerable length, but I think I have gone on long enough to indicate that I am not too happy with the indifference, the neglect, the turning of the head on problems in the north. I do not think it is sufficient to have a one-liner in the budget saying, "My government will look at the problems of one-industry towns in the north." That is just not good enough.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.